Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Mid Week Munchies - Churros and Chocolate

Mid Week Munchies takes place every week and is organised by Jennifer at My Blissful Journey. Check out the link to find what bloggers round the world have been buying and eating.

Churros and hot chocolate are a delicacy of Spain. Increasingly they seem to be available at pop up food markets over here though and I've recently heard talk of frozen vegan friendly churros in Lidl but alas we have no store near where we live.We do have a huge 24 hour Tesco though and when we heard that they had introduced a packet of vegan friendly churros to their Christmas party range we just had to give them a try. We had Matt's nephew staying with us and it was great to introduce him to the delights of chocolate and churros!

These aren't any ordinary churros either as they are filled with a chocolate and hazelnut paste and come with little packets of cinnamon sugar to sprinkle over them. As there was quite a lot of sugar already going on I made a small amount of dipping sauce rather than full on cups of thick Spanish style hot chocolate.

Dipping Sauce

1 bag of chocolate chips (1/2 a cup)
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 cup of almond milk

Put all of the ingredients in a pan and stir until melted and a chocolate dipping sauce is formed.
Dip away!

This brand of hot chocolate is vegan friendly if made with plant milk and is the perfect thick hot chocolate to dip churros in. I've bought it from health food shops and delis in Manchester and it quite often crops up in Aldi when they have a Spanish specials week.Well worth trying if you spot some and the tins are great for reusing for gifts of cookies afterwards.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Autumn Root Veggie and Cider Hotpot

I've got a really cheap but tasty winter warmer for you today. I used to make a casserole like this quite a lot years ago but I'd forgotten all about it until I saw these bags of casserole mix in Heron Foods. The bags were 2 for £1 and contain frozen onion, celery, carrot, turnip and swede.

To serve alongside it I also picked up some frozen garlic baguettes from Heron which are 59p a pack or 2 for £1.

Autumn Root Veggie and Cider Hotpot

2 x 600g packs of frozen casserole mix
3 large potatoes
1 teaspoon of dried sage
Stock to cook frozen veggies in
Olive oil to brush potatoes
2 oz / half a cup of plain flour
1 pint of cider
2 dessert spoon of tomato puree
1 teaspoon of yeast extract
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Place the frozen casserole mix veggies in a pan and just cover with boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes until no longer frozen. Once cooked drain water off.
Make the sauce by whisking the flour in a pan with enough cider to dissolve it and make a paste. Over a low heat continue to add the cider whisking all the time. Stir in the tomato puree, yeast extract, nutritional yeast and salt + pepper to taste. When it starts to thicken remove from the heat.

Stir the sauce into the vegetable mixture and transfer to an ovenproof dish.
Peel the potatoes and cut into thin slices. Top the veg mixture with the potatoes and brush the slices with oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread and some greens on the side. We went for cavolo nero.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Mid Week Munchies

Mid Week Munchies takes place every week and is organised by Jennifer at My Blissful Journey. Check out the link to find what bloggers round the world have been buying and eating.

This week's mid-week munchies focuses on cheese and meat substitutes. I'm really into smokey cheese flavours at the moment. I made a pizza the other week topped with the cashew based smokey cheese sauce from Vegan Pizza and we've been enjoying the Violife Smoked Slices in the front of the picture in toasted sandwiches. To the back right is some Smokey MozzaRisella which is made from germinated rice and so is actually a soy free cheese. I'm thinking pizza topping again with this or maybe burgers? I was very excited when Matt came back from our local health food store yesterday with the cheese on the left which is the new Violife Prosociano which boasts parmesan flavours. The cheese I probably miss most is fresh parmesan so this will need to be good to meet my standards! I'm intending to use it how I used to use parmesan as a flavouring to finish off dishes and I'll be starting with risotto. I've heard such mixed reviews of it on the internet. It seems to be a real 'marmite' love it or hate it product.

The sausage shaped product at the front of the next picture is vegan Haggis. We've tried this many times and love it. It's great in the traditional Scottish way with neeps and tatties but I also love it as part of a roast Sunday dinner which is what we'll be using this for this week. The bag at the back is the Ikea vegetable balls which we finally got round to picking up a bag of when we went to buy a new desk and bookcase this week. I didn't think I'd like these as I've never been a fan of either the meat or veggie version but I was very pleasantly surprised. We served them with a simple tomato sauce and some penne and salad and it was a really tasty meal. I though the price was a bit steep but we worked out that there are 10 servings in the bag so it's not expensive at all.

I couldn't let a mid week munchies go by without a bargain buy from Heron Foods. This big bag of crisps was only 59p and we made quick work of them and went back for more! Although spicy there's no hot chilli spices in there so I am able to eat them without a coughing attack which pleased me greatly.

Today is my birthday. Matt has a couple of gigs so I've taken some time off work and we are spending a day in Sheffield followed by a day in Nottingham then back home on Saturday for food with friends and a mini pub crawl round Glossop. Sheffield and Nottingham are pretty good places for vegans so I'm looking forward to some great meals out over the next few days and will try to remember to take some photos!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Lazy Sunday Morning Breakfast

A picture heavy post of a recent Sunday morning - World Vegan Day in Fact. Two sets of filter coffee - decaf for Matt and full caf for me!

Having fun with Jus-Rol croissants in a tin trying out some different filling ideas.

These tofutti slices worked really well but the bacon crumbles kind of dissolved and got lost. Next time I would try the same cheese slices with a smear of tomato puree and some mixed herbs to go for a pizza style croissant.

I had a tube of Creme de Marrons which is a French sweet chestnut puree. This was amazingly good as a croissant filling.

I broke up one of these small almond and orange dark chocolate bars from Aldi and this worked really well too.

Croissants about to go in....

Croissants coming out of the oven.

The finished breakfast. I've another tube of these in the fridge. Have you any ideas for fillings?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Belated Bonfire Night Post and Toffee Apple Cider Cake Recipe

I'm linking this post up to Mid Week Munchies over a Blissful Yoga Journey blog. Check it out to see what other bloggers have been buying and eating.

Last week was Bonfire night. We don't usually go to a bonfire or bother with fireworks these days but we do like to have some friends round. We had a little gathering at our house with some traditional Bonfire night food. On the savoury side I made some smokey paprika hummus and some little baked sausages in a sticky sweet hoisin sauce using this idea from the BBC website and Fry's sausages. It wouldn't be Bonfire night without some peas in a cup. Matt made Nottingham style peas which are mushy marrowfat peas in mint sauce and our friend Steve made Lancashire black peas which you serve with vinegar. Both are great traditional Bonfire night dishes and both naturally vegan too!

For the sweet nibbles I made some traditional Parkin cake using this great recipe for vegan Parkin from the Chocolate and Beyond blog. The only downside to Parkin is that you have to make it a week in advance and then wrap it in foil to let it get good and sticky. It's hard to resist and I had to hide it in the pantry! I also made some gluten free ginger biscuits from Babycakes Covers The Classics. I only made half the recipe and it made loads more than I expected. They weren't very gingery tasting though despite having 2 tablespoons of ginger so maybe I need to buy a new jar of ginger powder. They were delicious though. I gave them a simple icing glaze once they'd cooled down.

Something that's been in the specials section at Aldi for Halloween / Bonfire night is this Brothers Toffee Apple Cider that I was pleased to discover is vegan. We used it to make a cocktail for our guests taken from the Brother's website.

Toffee Apple Cocktail
Pour a bottle of Brothers Toffee Apple cider over plenty of ice.
Add a double measure of spiced rum and a measure of lime juice. Top up with apple juice and stir.

The flavour of the Toffee Apple cider is a bit like cream soda! I was quite intrigued by it and wanted to see if it would work in baking. I came up with an experimental recipe that was a great success and which I'm pleased I wrote down. I didn't add any other flavourings or spices to the cake batter as I wanted the cream soda flavour to come through and it did.

Toffee Apple Cider Cake with a Walnut Streusel Topping


1/4 cup of goji berries
1/4 cup of raisins
3/4 cup of Brother's Toffee Apple Cider
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup of soft brown sugar
2 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
3 tablespoons of water

Walnut Streusel Topping

1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1/3 cup of plain flour
1/3 cup of soft brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Pre-hear the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas 4
Grease and flour an 8x8 inch baking tin.
Soak the gojis and raisins in the cider.
Mix the ground flax seed with the water and set aside for about 15 minutes.
Sift together the flour, and baking powder.
Whisk together the melted coconut oil, brown sugar and flax seed mixture.
Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients stir well.
Fold in the goji, raisin and cider mix.
Pour the batter into the baking tin and sprinkle with the streusel topping.

To make the streusel topping mix the dry ingredients together then cut in the coconut oil and rub with your fingers to get a breadcrumb like mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, 2 November 2015

New Kitchen Art

I've blogged a few times, here and here about our growing food and drink related kitchen art collection. We've kind of run out of wall space now as a lot of the kitchen is tiled so this little fella has snuck into the hallway just before you enter the kitchen to welcome you in and put the thought of hot beverages into your mind! It a signed editioned print by Yorkshire artist Lisa Stubbs that I bought at the Holmfirth Art Week a few months back.You can see lots more of Lisa's lovely work here in her Etsy shop.

This hand illustrated vintage plate was a gift from Matt's sister and was actually made by their cousin Leanne who has an illustration business called Letterbox Lane. Leanne sells her work through Not On The High Street and also here through her own shop.

I love Leanne's work which is lovely quality and very reasonably priced. She does some great Christmas cards and I've just bought a set of the notebooks. We also recently bought a copy of this print.

Do you have any kitchen related art work or artists you'd recommend?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Mid Week Munchies and Winter Spiced Tea Recipe

I'm really enjoying doing these mid week munchies posts and checking out what other bloggers taking part around the world are eating and buying too. Check out this link to find out more. Last week my purchases were all from my local super cheap discount store, Heron Foods. This week I've gone to the other end of the scale for my town of Glossop and am going to feature three purchases from our Marks and Spencers Food store. I'm also going to count this as my Halloween link up post.

Check out this link to see Halloween related posts from other bloggers.

I initially went in because I wanted to buy something Halloween related. We had been planning a Halloween get together this year but then Matt got a gig. So, instead we're doing something the week after with Bonfire night themed food. I couldn't resist this big bag of Vampire's Fangs though which are a salt and vinegar flavour maize based crisp. At £2 they are pricey but they are also part of a big 3 for 2 offer in the store at the moment which covers loads of products. I would imagine that come Monday they'll probably be reduced to 50p!

There's a tenuous link to Halloween/ scary stuff here with the next item which is some roasted salt and vinegar flavour fava beans. I have to say that I have never actually seen Silence of the Lambs although I know fava beans feature in the film. I have however eaten lots of Hodmedod's beans and they have teamed up here to supply the fava beans for this Dilly and Wolf snack. Here's a link to a review I did of the Hodmedod's range of products. This is a new product to Marks and Spencer's and they also carry an accompanying snack of wasabi peas which is also vegan friendly. The snacks are £1.50 per pot.

My final product is a not terribly exciting box of loose leaf English Breakfast tea. It will be much more exciting when I have used it to make my tried and tested Winter Spiced Tea blend. I'll be drinking this myself as well as bagging  some up for festive gifts.

Winter Spiced Tea

The ideal tea to refresh your spirits on a cold winter afternoon and it smells amazing. Can be drunk with or without milk.

75g (2.5oz) of loose black tea leaves
3 star anise crushed
2 sticks of cinnamon, crushed
Peel of half a lemon that's been dried and chopped (prepare this a couple of days beforehand to allow the peel to dry out. Remove the peel from the lemon removing as much of the white pith as you can and let it dry out on a plate)
3 cloves crushed
6 peppercorns crushed

Mix all the ingredients together and place in an airtight tin or box. Add a label.