Category Archives: Recipes

Coconut dream ice cream.

Swedish Glace and other commercial brands of vegan ice cream can be pretty good but as you know, I do like to make my own versions of things!

Here’s my recipe for a super simple vegan ice cream. This has the added bonus of being soya free.

For the first attempt, I didn’t get too adventurous but I imagine you could add all sorts of yummy goodies to give you a new flavour for every day of the week although be wary of adding too much liquid as this could hamper the freezing process. Chocolate chips, mashed blueberries, a little lemon juice, chopped nuts…let me know if you try any variations of your own.

1 400ml can full fat coconut milk

3 tablespoons icing sugar (I have a major sweet tooth so you could probably put in less sugar than I did!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all ingredients into a blender and whiz it up. Pour the mixture into a freezer friendly tub and freeze for about 5 hours. Stir occasionally.

I found that after 5 hours it was perfect. Mostly frozen but still very creamy. Frozen for any longer and the texture changed and became very hard and difficult to serve (although it was still very creamy when eaten). I think next time I’ll put the ice cream back into the blender before serving to soften it up a bit.

My next experiment may well be a mint choc chip ice cream; that was always my favourite flavour and I’d love to find a great vegan version, whether from a store or whipped up in my own kitchen.

‘Sexy’ cake!

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I’ve heard many adjectives used to describe my baking efforts: ‘delicious’, ‘moist’, ‘scrumptious’, ‘disastrous’…but ‘sexy’ wasn’t a word I would have expected to hear in reference to a cupcake. Yet this is how my raspberry and chocolate chip cupcakes were described last weekend by my friend from the great Glasgow band The Meatmen. (Let’s take a moment to appreciate the irony of one of my favourite bands being called The Meatmen. Don’t let the name put you off, fellow vegans, they’re awesome. Check them out here: http://www.myspace.com/themeatmenglasgow)

So, on with the show.

For the cake:

1/2 cup vegan margarine/non dairy butter

1 cup sugar

3 cups self-raising flour

1 tablespoon apple sauce

1 cup non dairy milk (I used soya)

100g chocolate chips

Small pack raspberries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:

1 cup (approx) non dairy butter

Icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180c and grease a cake tin or line a cupcake tray.

Melt the butter and mix with the sugar. In a large bowl mix the flour, apple sauce, milk, vanilla extract, chocolate chips and raspberries (you can add the rasps whole or break them up a bit – I did the latter). Add the butter and sugar mixture and stir until combined but take it easy with the mix and don’t over-stir.

Pour into your cupcake cases or cake tin. If you’re making a large cake, bake it for about 45 minutes, cupcakes should be ready in about 15 – 20 minutes depending on your oven.

In a separate bowl cream the butter and vanilla extract and add icing sugar gradually until you end up with a thick butter cream. Spread or pipe the icing onto your cake(s) and decorate with fresh raspberries or chocolate chips (or both!).

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Root vegetable tagine with lemon infused cous cous.

I’ve gotten into a bit of a food rut recently; I tend to rotate the same few dishes each week. Without fail, I throw sweet potatoes into my trolley during the weekly supermarket trip but usually stick to making soup or curry with them so I fancied trying something different. My mum made me a delicious root vegetable tagine a few weeks ago so this was my attempt to recreate it.

For the tagine:

1 onion, finely chopped

3 sweet potatoes

1 cloves of crushed garlic

1/2 butternut squash

3 carrots

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup dried fruit

Dice the root veggies. Fry the onion in a little oil until softened, then add the cinnamon, ginger and cumin seeds and the crushed garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes and then add the root veg. Stir in the tomato paste and lemon juice and then add some water. I didn’t measure the water but I would estimate that I put in around 300ml. You could use more or less depending on how ‘saucy’ you’d like the dish to be. (I actually put in a little too much water but just scooped some of the gravy out towards the end and used it to flavour the cous cous!) Throw in your dried fruit. I used apricots and dates but my mum’s version contained prunes; all work well with this dish so just use whatever you have kicking around your cupboards. Allow to simmer for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked all the way through.

For the cous cous:

Use 200g cous cous to serve 4.

Place the cous cous in a saucepan with a tablespoon lemon infused olive oil and a dash of cinnamon. Add 250ml of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Once it has started to boil, remove the pan from the heat and allow the cous cous to absorb the water.

Fluff it up with a fork before serving,throw in a handful of raisins and mix. Serve with the tagine.

 

 

Black Forest Birthday Cake

I’m pretty much of the opinion that all chocolate cake is good chocolate cake – as long as it is cruelty free of course. It turns out, however, that all cakes are not created equal; I’m going to blow my own trumpet here and declare that I, Mrs Babystepsvegan, have created the Grandaddy of chocolate cakes!

But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.

For the (single) sponge:

4oz of non dairy butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup soya milk

2  and 2/3 cup self raising flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 dessert spoon apple sauce

For the icing:

morello cherry jam

non dairy butter

icing sugar

vanilla extract

cocoa powder

NB: when it comes to icing, I NEVER measure the ingredients, partly because I’m lazy, partly because I like to have an excuse to dip a finger in the bowl for ‘testing’ purposes. Hmm, needs more sugar…

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180c.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the sugar. Keep the heat low as you really don’t want to risk burning the butter.

Mix the flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Stir in the soya milk (or other plant milk) and apple sauce. Add the melted butter/sugar mix and stir gently but thoroughly – do not beat. Pour the cake mixture into a greased cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes.

Now, you could leave it at that, but I was making this for a special occasion – my son’s birthday – so I thought that we could justify a second layer. I baked a second sponge using the method above.

After leaving the cakes to cool, I spread a very generous helping of cherry jam on top of the first sponge. I then added some vanilla icing (made by beating some ‘butter’ and adding icing sugar and a touch of vanilla extract until I had a nice thick texture which was easily spread on top of the jam.) Gently place the second sponge on top to make a ‘sandwich’ and using a palette knife coat the cake with a nice thick layer of chocolate frosting (made in the same way as the vanilla icing but replacing the vanilla extract for cocoa powder – the more cocoa powder you add the richer the chocolate flavour will be).

I covered the cake in vegan chocolate beans (at my son’s request) but I think it would be even better covered in fresh black cherry halves.

If you’re being ‘virtuous’ (and that’s a very loose interpretation of the word!) and having a single layer cake, simply spread the jam over the top of the sponge and then cover with chocolate icing.

I’m tempted to try replacing the vanilla icing for a layer of vanilla ice cream next time. In fact, now that I’ve suggested it, I feel it is my duty to conduct just such an experiment. I’ll let you all know how it turns out!!

Onion and redcurrant chutney.

I’m really happy with this recipe. Mostly because I kind of made it up on the spot and it turned out to be amazingly good. Which was a relief because I was catering for family visiting for my little vegan’s 4th birthday party!

Honestly, the chutney was so good I could have happily eaten it on its own straight out of the pan (ok, you got me, I actually did have a few sneaky spoonfuls) but if you are slightly more refined than I am, I have a few suggestions of how to use it:

Cheese and onion rolls:

Roll out some Jus Rol puff pastry (or other vegan puff pastry) and cut into about 9 squares. Add a dollop of chutney to each square and add a piece of vegan cheese. Fold each square over to form a triangle and then bake in the oven for about half an hour or until the pastry is fully ‘puffed’ and golden and smelling so good that you just have to have some now. These are great additions to a buffet (I discovered!) or make a lovely starter when served with a little side salad.

Sausage-less rolls:

Again roll out some puff pastry and cut into squares. Place a spoonful of chutney onto each square and add a vegan sausage. You could use Linda McCartney’s mini sausages but I made my own sausages using a packet of meat free Chargrill burger mix from Asda. Follow the instructions on the packet but form mini sausage shapes instead of burgers. Fry the sausages for a few minutes to brown each side and then add them to the pastry squares. Roll up and bake for 30 minutes.

Bruschetta:

Toast some ciabatta slices, drizzle with a little olive oil, and top with chutney and a few rocket leaves.

Now finally, the chutney recipe:

3 onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 dessert spoons vegan redcurrant jelly

1 dessert spoon olive oil

Fry the onions gently in a saucepan with the olive oil. Add the sugar once the onions have softened and cook for another couple of minutes. Spoon in the redcurrant jelly and stir until the jelly has melted. Cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes or until you have a nice sticky mixture. Be sure to check the pan frequently and stir occasionally. I’d love to tell you how long this would last if kept in the fridge but trust me, this is not a question you will need to ask – it’s so good it won’t even make it to the fridge!

Cheesy Apricot Stuffed Loaf

Ok, so I’m a bit late in sharing the recipe for my Christmas Loaf; I’m guessing the diets have started and the last thing you want to get your chops round is a big juicy, flaky slice of pastry heaven. Are you sure?

This loaf was actually such a hit in the babysteps household that I couldn’t in good conscience consign it to the the list of Christmas time only dishes. It deserves more! So I think this will be baking in my oven any time we have a family occasion…or any day with a ‘y’ in it. Served with some roast spuds, veggies and redcurrant jelly, it’s an ideal replacement for the traditional Sunday roast.

My Mum made me this dish every Christmas Eve (well, the vegetarian version) when I was growing up. The whole family tucked in and then Mum saved a slice for me to have on Christmas day when the rest of the family began the traditional turkey massacre. It comprises an apricot and oatmeal stuffing, layered with creamed spinach and a mixture of carrot and ‘cheese’, all wrapped up in puff pastry. It has evolved over the years to reflect our family tastes – I actually have no idea what the original recipe was like or even where it came from. So, if you don’t like the sound of one of the layers, change it. Only let me know so that I can try your version too!

What you need:

1 packet of Jus Rol puff pastry. (Yes, I’m lazy, I’m the first to admit it)

Stuffing:

60g dairy free spread

1 chopped onion

60g oatmeal

125g white breadcrumbs

juice of half a lemon

90g chopped dried apricots

1 dessert spoon of apple sauce

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

salt and black pepper

Creamed spinach:

I used frozen because my fridge was stuffed full of parsnips and sprouts but of course you could use fresh spinach.

6 blocks of frozen spinach

pinch of nutmeg

1-2 dessert spoons of vegan cream cheese

black pepper

Carrot and cheese:

3 medium carrots, grated

1/3 of a block of vegan cheese (I used Sheese, strong cheddar style)

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 180c

Roll out the pastry and set aside. In a saucepan melt the ‘butter’ and then fry the onion very gently until soft. You don’t want it to brown, just soften. Add the breadcrumbs and oatmeal and stir thoroughly, add the lemon juice and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the herbs, apricots and some seasoning. Add the apple sauce to bind together. Place the stuffing on the pastry and spread on to the pastry, leaving a little room around the side.

Heat the spinach until completely thawed. Drain the excess water and add the cream cheese. Mix thoroughly and then add the nutmeg and a little black pepper. Layer this on top of the stuffing and spread it evenly.

Grate the carrots and cheese, mix together and then place this over the spinach layer.

Bring up the sides of the pastry to form the loaf. If you are more talented in the kitchen than I am, play about with lattices and the like. Or, if you’re a tad more ‘rustic’, don’t worry about the shape but just make sure that all of the stuffing layers are encased in the pastry. Chuck it in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before slicing. And enjoy!

This is actually nice when eaten cold too, so wrap up any leftovers and take them with you to work for lunch the next day.Mmmm, serve with some roast spuds, sprouts and redcurrant jelly.

Date and Sultana Cake

Fellow vegan Jenny Hynd posted a variation of this recipe recently on a forum, having adapted it from a non vegan recipe from her mum. The original vegan version has 1 cup of sultanas and I’d like to say that it was a strategic decision to sub the dates but the truth is I just ran out of raisins and had to search the cupboards for a replacement! I have to say though that it worked rather well and of course dates are extremely nutritious – I’m having a bit of a love affair with dates right now so I’m happy for any excuse to use them and to get the kids eating them too!

2cups self raising flour

1 cup caster sugar

4oz vegan margarine

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup chopped dates

1tbls apple sauce

Preheat your oven to 180

Melt the margarine and sugar in a pot but be careful not to let it boil. Add all the other ingredients, folding together rather than mixing. The original recipe calls for grease proof paper to line your baking tin but I had also run out of that (not doing so well today am I?!) but my non-stick loaf tin handled the job nicely and after 40 minutes in the oven, the cake slid right out of the tin. We each had a slice after lunch while it was still warm and it was AMAZING!!

I think next time I may try a variation with some chopped fresh apple and some cinnamon added. Because you can never have too much cake…

Thanks to Jenny for allowing me to share the recipe with you lovely folks.