Monday, 3 December 2012

We Will Not Forget

Released today as a single from Matt's new album. Get it here as a free download.
Billy Bragg says 'Here's a powerful rallying cry from Quiet Loner'.
Check out the video.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Best Porridge Ever

Sunday morning, Corrie omnibus, good coffee and a nice breakfast, that's what I like. Today was the turn of the Best Porridge Ever. Proper porridge oats (not the quick cook kind) made with water, rice milk, a bit of soya cream and some very thinly sliced banana. The banana sort of melts down into the porridge, try it, it is amazing. Stirred into this was some homemade apple sauce, a swirl of golden syrup, a sprinkle of walnuts and a dessert spoon of single malt whisky floated on top.

Last Sunday's breakfast came courtesy of my November UK Vegan Snack Swap. My partner was Jhenn aka The Vegan Ronin. The package contained a pack of amazing homemade seitan bacon or Beican. It was delicious and fried up nice and crispy for our BLTs. There were some other goodies from a recent trip to Italy including a biscuit bar that tasted like jaffa cakes and a lovely pain au chocolate. There was also a packet of bacon flavour popcorn! I don't have a microwave so I'm saving that for a film night over at my sisters. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the package I sent to Kel and I can find the link to her blog but it included mini marshmallows, syrup waffles, tempura mix and raw chocolate.

There's still time to take part in the December swap. I'm busy assembling a Christmas themed package to send out to whoever I get paired with. To sign up get over to the Too Happy Vegans blog by December 5.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas is a Coming

I've been trying to get into the Christmas spirit. Most of my shopping is covered. I tend to buy things throughout the year, partly to spread the cost and partly as a habit I got into from my days of working in retail when you end up working all hours in December and getting tired and stressed. I used to like to get it out of the way before consumer madness descended. I got my Christmas cards printed up this week. I did a little pencil sketch of some Christmas jumpers and used my local community printers Marc.

I've also been getting a bit of shopping in. My mum took me to the new mega Tesco on Salford Precinct last week and I got very excited by the world food isle. Maybe all big Tescos have these, I wouldn't know, there are none near to where I live. There were vegan friendly Oreos, albeit mini ones (great for cupcakes though) and tins of pumpkin on offer 2 for £3.

Tonight I got even more excited in Sainsburys. New Crisps for Christmas! Kettle Chips have brought out Seasalt, Rosemary and Garlic and Sainsburys have released Hoisin Duck and Baked Ham and Sticky Marmalade flavours. And yes they are all VEGAN!!! Aren't these just about the most exciting vegan crisp flavours ever? Also, spotted in Sainsburys were the Guinness flavour peanut and cashew nuts. There's no actual Guinness in them, they are made by Humdinger who when I contacted them assured me that they are suitable for vegans. Oh, and Sainsburys Free From Mince Pies which also happen to be gluten free are really lovely too. Tis the season to be snacking.

Monday, 26 November 2012


I've been somewhat MIA since Mofo finished. Things have been rather busy. I had a birthday and there were several celebrations around that and I had a wonderful birthday weekend away staying at the iconic art deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe. We had a fab time and the staff really looked after my vegan dietary needs providing soya milk and margarine and printing off our own vegan menu when we had an evening meal providing 3 choices for each course. We also managed to fit in a visit to the Whaletail Cafe in Lanchester on the way home so that's another tick off the the Top 10 Vegan Breakfasts list!

Matt also released his third Quiet Loner album last week to great reviews. Check out this 10 out of 10 review on Americana UK. I'm so proud of him. It's a great album from the music right down to the handprinted letterpress sleeve created by artists Kev Craig and David Armes. Have a listen, there's a link to some tracks on the right hand side of the homepage of his website.

We've been making some yummy meals too but I've been a bit lax about taking photos. Highlights include an amazing seitan tikka masala from the Vegan Indian Cooking and the Smokey Butternut Mac and Cheese from the Manifest Vegan blog which was a recipe I bookmarked during Mofo.

I got Babycakes Covers The Classics for my birthday. The first thing I made from it was the Irish Soda Bread which was amazing. I've got this Friday off to do loads of baking for the People's Kitchen Cake Stall this Saturday at the Anarchists Bookfair and for the Cake Liberation Front's 2nd Birthday Meet Up on Sunday so I'm looking forward to trying out lots more recipes from it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

October UK Vegan Food Swap

I love taking part in the monthly UK vegan food swap. It's such fun choosing what to put in your parcel and so exciting when you receive one. If you want to take part sign up over at Too Happy Vegans by the 5th. I first heard about the swap over on the Vegan in Brighton blog and this month I got my parcel from the owner of that blog Jojo. Very excitingly Jojo had just returned from a holiday in the States and all the goodies in my parcel were from there. 

Here's a better look at the contents. I've eaten most of the bars already. I'm saving the pumpkin to make the Vegan With A Vengeance Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins for Christmas Day morning something I've done a few times in the past but couldn't do last year as my stock of holiday purchased pumpkin had been emptied.

Something else from the package came in handy for our Halloween Tea. First off I purchased some David Shrigley Brain Bread. 13 loaves of the bread are being sold from 2pm every Wednesday at Bakerie whilst the David Shrigley exhibition is on at the Cornerhouse. The artist designed the bread with the Bakerie staff and it's a really tasty beetroot and walnut bread. Each loaf comes with a hand numbered label signed by David.

Some here it is - potato wedges with a special Halloween sandwich of brain bread filled with mayo, leaves, tomato and soy curls. I was delighted when I saw that Jojo had included a packet of soy curls in the food swap box. I've read so much about them and wished they were available in the UK. We used the recipe for the Smokey Soy Curls from Vegan Diner. I loved them and enjoyed them again on a brain bread sandwich for lunch today with the extra addition of some avocado.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Lemon Meringue Pie Martini

We're back to Sean Connery as Bond for the last Martini and my last Mofo post. The film to go with the Lemon Meringue Pie Martini is Goldfinger and this cocktail is made with real edible gold leaf.

The gold leaf was purchased via Ebay and was tricky to use needing two pairs of tweezers!

Lemon Meringue Pie Martini
Serves 1

1 shot of vodka
1 shot of Limoncello
1/2 shot of Galliano
3 shots of pineapple juice
Edible gold leaf

Shake the ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass and use tweezers to float pieces of edible gold leaf on the surface of the drink. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Goldfinger was the third Bond film and the first 'blockbuster' costing more than the first two films combined with extensive use of technology, gadgets and promotional tie-ins. Hope enjoyed the martini series, we've certainly enjoyed drinking them! Now I'm off to spend November catching up on all the blogs I've not had chance to look at this month!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Black Forest Martini

I've gone to the Black Forest of Germany for the inspiration for this Martini with our next Bond film not set too far away from there in the Swiss Alps.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service was the sixth Bond film. The role previously played by Sean Connery was taken over for one film only by George Lazenby.

Black Forest Martini
Serves 1

1 shot of vodka
1 shot of cherry syrup
1 shot of Creme de Cacao
1 shot of soya cream

Shake all the ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service is also the only film where Bond marries. He gets wed to the Countess Teresa 'Tracey' de Vincenzo played by Diana Rigg. Here's the offical trailer.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Apple Pie Martini

I wanted to make an apple pie martini. Apple pie seemed suitably British like Bond but I was struggling to match it with a Bond film. Then my friend Sean, a Bond expert and lover of puns came up with the answer in The Man With The Golden (Delicious) Gun.

This recipe makes a simple yet really delicious Martini. I only had powdered cinnamon which you could see floating in the drink. For aesthetic reasons I'd probably try this with cinnamon syrup next time. A cinnamon stick to garnish would look good too.

Apple Pie Martini
Serves 1

1 shot of vodka
3 shots of apple juice
1/4 teaspoon of cinammon or you could use some cinammon syrup
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and serve.

This was the ninth bond film and the second to star Roger Moore. It also starred Christopher Lee as Bond villan Scaramanga. Here's the original trailer.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cherry Pie Martini

So, we went to see Skyfall last night and it was brilliant! I won't give anything away but will just say, go and see it, you won't be disappointed. There was dinner first at Wagamamas and of course cocktails. We went to our favourite Happy Hour cocktail bar Lola's and had Meowtinis made with Snow Leopard Vodka, rosemary and vermouth.

We're going back to some old school Bond for today's cocktail, the Cherry Pie Martini. These are inspired by You Only Live Twice which is set in Japan a land famous for it's cherry blossom.

Cherry Pie Martini
Serves 1
1 shot of vodka
1 shot of cherry syrup
1 shot of lemon juice
1/2 shot of grenadine

Shake all the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Here's the original trailer for You Only Live Twice. It was the fifth Bond film and again stars Sean Connery with a screenplay by Roald Dahl.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Gingerbread Martini

We're kicking off the series of Bond/ dessert themed Martinis with inspiration from the first James Bond film, Dr No. It was released in 1962 and our hero is sent to Jamaica to investigate the death of a fellow British agent. It happens to star my favourite Bond - Sean Connery. Who's your favourite Bond?

I wanted to make something with some spice in it and started thinking about Jamaican Gingercake. There's also coffee and cinnamon in this too. As these have cream in them I reckon you could also get away with serving them as a dessert, maybe with some little ginger biscuits to dip in. All the Martinis this week will be vodka based and of course will be shaken not stirred!

Gingerbread Martini
Serves 1

2 shots of vodka
1 shot of kahlua
1 shot of gingerbread syrup
1 shot of soya cream

Shake all the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass and top with cinammon.

I'll leave you with the original trailer. The new films may be chock full of special effects but this still manages to look exciting and glamorous.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Trick or Treat

I've been stocking up on the treats for Halloween with some handmade vegan goodies. I've got an autumnal Chocolate Box from Deerly Beloved Bakery on it's way and I couldn't resist these marshmallow ghosts from Sweet Vegan. I also found out today that I've been lucky enough to win not 1 but 3 tubs of marshmallows from another vegan company! I'd not heard of Daisy's Marshmallows before but they sound brilliant. The company was set up by a woman called Linda and she has raised over £4,000 so far through Facebook and Ebay which goes to help dogs in distress. She is selling a Halloween marshmallow package on the Ebay page. I'm going to take the ones I've won along to the next Cake Liberation Front meet up to share the marshmallow love and let more people know about this brilliant fundraising idea.

What kind of treats are you having for Halloween?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

For Your Pies Only

I'm going to be a bit quiet on the blogging front this week as I've a couple of days of hospital tests. I'll be back on Friday though with my last 5 themed Mofo posts. The clue is in the title of this post. Yes, Friday is the opening day of the new bond film and we'll be off to see it after work as Matt's been on the opening day of every one since The Spy Who loved me in 1977. Here he is sat on the roof of the original car from that film.

My theme is going to be dessert inspired Martinis. But before that here's a pie I made yesterday that manages to have booze in both the filling and the pastry!

I used this recipe for a vegan flaky pastry that uses ice cold vodka as one of the ingredients. Apparently the alcohol does something to the gluten in the flour allowing you to create a more tender crust. It cooks off in the oven and you can't taste it. It's the first time I've made a savoury pastry from scratch and I was surprised how easy it was and would definitely recommend this recipe.

I used a filling recipe that I've used a few times before with a puff pastry top. I cooked it down until most of the liquid had gone and it worked well with the shortcrust pastry on the top and bottom.

It was the first pie to be made in this new purchase - a Le Creuset pie dish from TK Maxx at a third of the normal price. I've got a few pieces of Le Creuset ceramic cookware and it's great stuff and really easy to clean!

Friday, 19 October 2012

White chocolate, Cherry and Coconut Truffles

The truffle recipe I blogged about the other day is so good I couldn't resist having a go at another variation. These are made using 4 of those small packets of dairy free white chocolate buttons. I was hoping to use Cherry Brandy but I couldn't get any. I did spot some cherry flavour syrup though for a fraction of the price and this worked really well.


Makes 20 truffles

100g dairy free white chocolate
50g vegan margarine
1 tablespoon of cherry syrup
1 tablespoon of soya cream
25g of ground almonds
150g of icing sugar
6 glace cherries chopped into tiny pieces
Dessicated coconut for rolling

Melt the margarine and chocolate in a pan over a low heat.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cherry syrup and soya cream.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients and put in the fridge to chill.
Once chilled roll teaspoon of the mixture into balls.
Roll in the coconut and place in petit-four cases.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Spaces Between at Glossop People's Festival

I'm having a little break from the sweet making today because I'm having an art exhibition and tonight is the launch. It's part of the Glossop People's Festival. There's more of an explanation of my work here  if you scroll down the page in the link but I thought I'd share a few pictures of some food and drink related pieces what with it being Mofo! The title of this picture is a line from Fight Club and the drawings are of the contents of my fridge.

A Fridge Full of Condiments and No Real Food

Here these papier mache bottles are covered with lots of random overheard bits of conversations. I was exploring the notion of people thinking they have privacy in a public space. There's some quite funny and some frankly bizzare things on there!

I learned to read tea leaves to make this work and travelled round to friends houses or invited them round to mine and read their fortunes.

The work will be up until the end of November. It's been quite a while since I've exhibited anything so it's been nice to pull this together. Before I go I want to leave you with a link to All But The Kitchen Sink where Trista is blogging lovely food related drawings for Mofo.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Violet Creams

I really like rose and violet fondant creams but I've yet to find some that I'm 100% sure are vegan. Hotel Chocolat sell them but list them as vegetarian rather than vegan although I can't see anything on the ingredients list to make them non vegan, possibly whatever is the red colouring in the rose ones..  Anyway I was really pleased when I spotted an easy recipe for Floral Cremes in my copy of The Vintage Tea Party Book. This is a lovely book that is beautifully illustrated. Whilst it's not a vegan recipe book there's stuff in there that is vegan friendly such as the Whisky Marmalade and brilliant Chocolate Granola I made for Christmas presents last year and lots of styling ideas.

It gave me an excuse to buy this which I'm looking forward to trying in fizz and lemonade too.

I remembered to Americanize them too so here's the recipe with cups. These were really easy and came out great. I ended up adding a bit more icing sugar but I think that's something you'd play around with depending on the kind of syrup you use.

Floral Creams
Taken from The Vintage Tea Party Book by Angel Adoree

45ml / 1.5 fl oz/ 2 tablespoons of soya cream
a few drops of food colouring (optional - I didn't use any for these as the syrup was coloured)
45ml / 1.5 fl oz/ 2 tablespoons of violet syrup (or your choice of syrup - lavender, rose, mint etc)
275g / 9.5oz / 2 cups of icing sugar
100g (3/4 cup) dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

Mix the cream and syrup and food colouring if using. Sift int he icing sugar and stir to combine.

Dust a clean surface with icing sugar and knead the mixture until you have a firm ball of dough.

Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour.

Remove from the fridge. Divide into 20 teaspoon sized lumps and roll into balls.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. When its melted stir in the sunflower oil, remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes.

Line a baking tray with non stick paper. Dip the fondant balls halfway into the melted chocolate and place on the non stick paper to set.

Serve as they are or in individual petit-four cases.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


For day of two of the week of sweet making I thought I'd have a go at something I haven't tried before - honeycomb! Incidentally  I noticed recently that Sainsburys sell little bags of honeycomb pieces in their cake decorating section that are vegan friendly. The recipe I used is this Lorraine Pascale one from the BBC Website. I just had to sub margarine for butter.

I must say it wasn't 100% successful. It did set but it was more of a toffee than a honeycomb although a nice tasting toffee at that. I think I didn't have the heat up high enough and I couldn't resist stirring a few times so I think it's likely to be my fault not that of the recipe. Oh well, it's an excuse to have another go!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Whisky and Ginger Truffles

When I had to choose a category on the Mofo sign up form I had to admit that my blog definitely falls into the category of 'comfort foods'. After the week of muffins and the week of mash we now have a week of sweet making. These are super quick and easy truffles and make an impressive gift. I've posted the basic recipe before and have made several variations on them. This time I decided to use whisky and ginger. You start off by melting the dark chocolate and margarine. 

Then you stir in the cream and whisky followed by the rest of the ingredients. After chilling in the fridge until the mixture cools and firms up you rolls them into balls and roll them into cocoa.


Makes 25 truffles

100g plain chocolate
50g vegan margarine
1 tablespoon of whisky
1 tablespoon of cream
25g of ground almonds
150g of icing sugar
5 large pieces of crystallised ginger chopped into tiny pieces
Cocoa powder for rolling