Cranberry, orange and pistachio biscuits

Monday, 19 December 2016
Vegan cranberry, orange and pistachio biscuits recipe

I first made this recipe last year, before I was vegan, but it was shortbread rather than biscuits. It turns out that baking vegan shortbread is really bloody hard and despite using the same recipe and trying it a few times, I kept baking biscuits rather than shortbread. It's okay, though, because the flavours are so good. They taste so Christmassy, the slightly sour cranberries give a little kick alongside the festive spices and sweetness from the orange. I just love them, even if they aren't shortbread as intended. 

Vegan cranberry, orange and pistachio biscuits recipe

You will need (makes 14): 
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup dairy free spread (I use vitalite)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup pistachio kernels
zest of 1 orange + juice of half the orange 

Method: 
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Finely chop the cranberries into little pieces and roughly chop the pistachios. Zest the orange and set all these ingredients aside while you prepare the biscuit mixture.
- Add the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and sugar to a large bowl and mix together. Add in the spread and rub in using your hands. The mixture should begin to resemble breadcrumbs as it combines.
- Add the cranberries, pistachios, orange zest and juice of half the orange and mix together using your hands, being careful not to overwork it.
- Put the mixture out onto a floured surface and roll out using a floured rolling pin until it's around 1cm thick. Cut out biscuits using a cookie cutter and then place these onto a lined and greased baking tray. The mixture should make around 14 biscuits.
- Place into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

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Vegan cranberry, orange and pistachio biscuits recipe

Maple cinnamon roasted cashews

Thursday, 15 December 2016
Vegan maple cinnamon roasted cashews recipe

Honey roasted cashews used to be one of my favourite ever Christmas snacks before going vegan. I could so easily sit and munch my way through a whole tub of these little gems in one sitting. They are dangerously addictive. So I had to create a vegan version and I think they are maybe even better than I remember. This recipe is so simple and you only need four ingredients. I'm planning on making a few batches of them to put into jars and give as Christmas presents too because I think handmade presents are just the cutest. I just need to find some nice jar lids or coverings to hide the fact that I've eaten many, many jars of peanut butter this year...

You could use this same recipe with any nuts you like, cashews are my absolute fave but I reckon this would also be wonderful with almonds or peanuts, oh or maybe a mix of all three - I need to try that!

Vegan maple cinnamon roasted cashews recipe

You will need: 
1 cup cashews
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice

Method:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- In a bowl, mix together the maple syrup, cinnamon and mixed spice.
- Add the cashews and mix until they are all coated with the maple mixture.
- Put the nuts onto a lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, giving them a mix halfway through.

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Vegan maple cinnamon roasted cashews recipe

Gingerbread cupcakes

Monday, 12 December 2016
Vegan gingerbread cupcakes recipe

In the spirit of the festive season, I wanted to share some Christmassy themed recipes. The first I'm sharing today is for these super spiced gingery cupcakes. I've made these quite a few times over the past few weeks and just adore them. They taste just like gingerbread, but in cake form. Plus, the icing is incredible and I may have just eaten a load of it out the bowl with a spoon until I felt a little unwell... so worth it. 

Vegan gingerbread cupcakes recipe

You will need (makes 9): 
for the cakes 
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup light muscovado sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 chia egg (1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water)
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup coconut oil (solid)
1/2 cup soya milk

for the icing 
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup dairy free spread
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Method: 
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Make a chia egg by mixing 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Leave this to the side while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon) and then sieve this through to get rid of any lumps.
- Add the coconut oil and blackstrap molasses to a pot and heat gently until combined. Add this to the dry mix along with the soya milk and chia egg. Mix well.
- Split into cases (I used around 2 tablespoons of mixture in each case) and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the cakes are baking, make the icing by combining the icing sugar, dairy free spread and ginger together in a bowl and mixing until smooth.
- Spread the icing onto the cakes once they are completely cool.

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Vegan gingerbread cupcakes recipe

Smoked butter bean stew

Monday, 5 December 2016
Smoked butter bean stew with baked potato

This week's recipe is a little different from the usual. I was asked to take part in a recipe campaign for Paymentsense and create a recipe that feeds four people for £5 (easy). Their research found that a third of people change their eating habits towards the end of the month because they find themselves with less money left than they need. So, they want to put together a pack of recipes to show people that they can still eat nice, tasty meals even when money is a bit tight. There seems to be a bit of a misconception that eating vegan can be expensive, which is so far from the truth. Generally, vegans eat a lot of veggies, fruit, whole grains and legumes, which are some of the cheapest foods you can buy. This smoked butter bean stew tastes so good, costs very little to make and is a really nice hearty meal for a cold winter night.

Smoked butter bean stew with baked potato

You will need (serves 4-5): 
3 carrots (20p)
2 leeks (34p)
1 courgette (36p)
1 red onion (10p)
4 cloves garlic (10p)
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes (62p)
1 400g tin butter beans (50p)
1/2 cup pearl barley (10p)
2 vegetable stock cubes - I use the Kallo low salt ones (20p)
3 teaspoons smoked paprika (15p)
1 teaspoon oregano (5p)

4 baking potatoes to serve (79p)

Total cost: £3.51 for four people (and some leftover stew for someone's lunch the next day - win!) 

Method: 
- Finely chop the garlic cloves and chop up the onion and leek. 
- Put a little hot water into a large pot and add the onion and garlic. Fry this off for 3-4 minutes. 
- Add the leeks and fry for a further 2 minutes until softened. 
- Dissolve the stock cubes in a little water and add this to the pot along with the chopped tomatoes, smoked paprika, oregano, pearl barley and 3 + 1/2 cups of water. 
- Bring to the boil for 10 minutes and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Chop up the carrots and courgette into small chunks. 
- Add the carrots, courgette, and butter beans to the pot and leave to simmer for a further 30 minutes.
- If serving with baked potatoes, pop these in the oven to bake while the stew is cooking. They will take 50 minutes to an hour.

You can serve the stew with whatever you fancy. I like using it as a baked potato filling but you could also serve it with rice, pasta or just a lot of crusty bread!

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Smoked butter bean stew with baked potato