5

Lemon and Blueberry Cakenuts

jessthetics / lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Even though it’s summer now, on cloudy days I still feel like curling up under a blanket and eating lots of donuts, so I made some! Well, sort of. I don’t have a donut baking tray (although it’s definitely on my wishlist now) so I improvised and baked my mixture in a muffin tray. These treats are like a cross between a cake and a donut, hence “cakenut”! They’re light and fluffy, tart and sweet at the same time and it did not take me and my family long to munch through these (a day and a half, tops!) I’ve adapted my recipe from this incredible vegan donut recipe. The cakenuts are vegan too!

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

You will need: 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed, 1 cup of plain flour, 1/3 cup of maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup of rice milk, 1 tablespoon of warm water, 1/4 cup of vegan margarine, 1 lemon, 1 1/3 cup of icing sugar, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of blueberry jam, a muffin tray and a piping bag.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

First, mix the flaxseed and the warm water together and leave this to stand for a couple of minutes.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Next, slightly melt the margarine and mix this with the zest of your lemon, the maple syrup, milk and the flax seed mixture. Add to this the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix together.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Spoon your mixture into the muffin trays so that each circle is half filled. Bake these at 180 C for fifteen minutes.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Once the cakenuts have cooled, you can remove them from the pan and begin the fun bit – the piping! If you have a piping bag, fill it with blueberry jam, push the nozzle into the middle of the cakenut and squeeze. If, like me, you don’t have a piping bag, you could make a diy one from greaseproof paper and sellotape, and use a chopstick to make a hole in the middle of your cakenut. This is definitely the messy way of getting the jam in the middle! For variety, half of my cakenuts have jam inside, and the other half have jam spread on top like a scone.

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together and spread it on the top of your cakenuts! (Don’t forget to lick the bowl, this stuff is tasty.)

Jessthetics / Lemon and raspberry cakenuts

And they’re ready to eat! Because they take so little time in the oven and the mixture’s pretty simple, this is actually a really quick bake. And when you’re hungry for cakenuts, that can only be a good thing!

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20

The Ultimate Veggie Sandwich

I am SO happy that it is finally eating outside weather! I often dream of living somewhere where it’s warm enough to eat outside most days of the year, like California (although I think this might be a “grass is greener” type of dream, since I’m only ever in hot countries when I’m on holiday and  it’s okay to spend 80% of my time reading by the pool.) It feels so good to sip lemonade with the sun on your back. To celebrate what seems to be the beginning of the British summer, James and I made my favourite sandwich and ate it in the garden. It features guacamole (avocados are quickly becoming my favourite food) grilled mushrooms and a big helping of hummus – yum! Here’s how 🙂

Ingredients: 1 small loaf of freshly baked bread, 1/2 carrot, 1 avocado, 4 or 5 mushrooms, 2 tomatoes, a handful of olives, hummus, chilli sauce, salt and pepper 1/2 lime and some balsamic vinegar.

Grate your carrot, and slice your olives into halves.

To make the guacamole, mash a ripe avocado with a fork, and stir in a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Chop up the mushrooms and fry them in a little oil until soft. Chop the tomatoes and add these along with two teaspoons of mixed herbs and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Cook on a low heat until the tomatoes have softened.

This is the chilli sauce that James and I eat with everything. Since cooking together my spice tolerance has improved a lot! This stuff is rather hot, and a bottle doesn’t last us very long!

To assemble the sandwich, spread guacamole on one half of the bread, followed by a layer of grated carrot and a drizzle of chilli sauce. On the other half of the bread, spread a generous layer of hummus, some olive halves and a spoonful of tomatoes and mushrooms. Squidge together and you have the best sandwich ever!

Crisps and lemonade are not optional. Who said vegan food was boring? Here’s to many more meals in the sunshine!

11

Vegan Black Forest Cupcakes

At my internship we had a team meeting every Monday, and we took it in turns to make cake. Because I was vegan, my colleagues were so sweet and made me my own vegan treat every week! When I left, they bought me this amazing cupcake book – Vegan Cupcakes Take over The World! The first recipe that I’ve used from this book is the Black Forest Cupcakes recipe. The cakes were delicious and spongy, and I never would have guessed that they were vegan! My frosting was runnier than it should have been but oh well, practice makes perfect! Here’s how:

You will need: 1 and 1/4 cup soy milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup margarine, 3 and 1/2 cups icing sugar, teaspoon vanilla extract, 10 ounce frozen cherries (thawed), 1 tablespoon arrowroot, 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice, a bar of vegan chocolate, 20 candied cherries, 5 tablespoons of cherry brandy (Kirsch) (Makes 20!)

Make the frosting first, so that it has time to thicken in your fridge! Beat together the margarine, icing sugar, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of soy milk and refrigerate.

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Whisk together 1 cup of soy milk with the vinegar, and let it sit for a couple of minutes to curdle. Add the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the vegetable oil. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the almond extract, a tablespoon of cherry brandy and mix it all together. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, the baking soda, the baking powder and the salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to your original bowl, and beat until smooth. Pour into cupcake cases, and bake for 20 minutes.

Whilst the cupcakes are baking, make the saucy cherries! Over medium heat, combine the cherries with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk together the pomegranate juice and the arrowroot, and pour this into your pan slowly. The mixture will thicken very quickly, so take it off the heat straight away! Then stir in a tablespoon of cherry brandy. Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut out their middles and scoop the cherry mixture into the well.

Retrieve your frosting from the fridge, and pipe on top of the cherry mixture, covering the cupcake (in retrospect I should have left my frosting in the fridge for a little longer!) Then put the cupcake cones back on top

Pipe some more frosting on top of the cupcakes, add the glace cherries and grate some vegan chocolate over the top.

For the glaze, combine 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of cherry brandy in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 2 minutes whilst stirring. Pour straight over your cupcakes!

These cakes are so tasty. It’s quite an in-depth recipe, but it’s fun spending the time to make something a bit different! Also, cooking with brandy is always fun. There are so many cakes in this book that I can’t wait to make, like the Margarita Cupcakes, Lychee Cupcakes, Pistachio Rosewater Cupcakes, Coconut Lime Cupcakes, Green Tea Cupcakes, Peanut Cupcakes…. the list goes on! Would you like to come round for tea? I’m going to have trouble eating all of these by myself!

11

Vegusto, A Review

Last month when I first became vegan I mostly ate fresh veg with bread, potatoes or rice, apart from snacks. This month I’ve been experimenting with vegan dairy and meat substitutes! Vegusto are a fairly new company well-known for their vegan cheese although they also do snacks, drinks, vitamins, pet foods and meat substitutes. I was so excited when they sent me a goodie bag full of food to review since I was on the hunt for a good vegan cheese!

Vegusto Review / Jessthetics12The first thing I tried was this Mushroom and Cheese burger. I fried it for a couple of minutes and ate it with tomatoes, extra cheese and chilli sauce! I was pleasantly surprised – it was thicker and firmer than I thought it would be and it was very mushroomy! To compare, it was similar to a Quorn beef burger (which are not vegan), but with more flavour!

Vegusto Review / JesstheticsVegusto Review / JesstheticsI fried the Farmhouse Style Sausage for a couple of minutes and ate it with mash, gravy and cauliflower cheese. Similar to the burger, the sausage had a firm meaty texture. It also had a strong smoky flavour which I wasn’t so keen on, but James loved it! It’s definitely the chunkiest Vegan Sausage I’ve come across.

Vegusto Review / JesstheticsVegusto Review / JesstheticsWe used the No Moo Melty Cheese to make an enormous vegan pizza! This is my favourite meal that I created using Vegusto products. I grated one half of the cheese under the veg and the other half on top. The cheese wasn’t as melty as I thought it would be, but that might be because we put it under the grill. This cheese has a very mild flavour and is the most similar to other vegan cheeses that I’ve tried –  it was lovely on the pizza and would be nice in lasagne and moussakka but it’s not similar enough to cheese for me to eat it by itself. Although, James said he would buy this again.

Vegusto Review / JesstheticsVegusto Review / JesstheticsThe two Vegusto hard cheeses are hands down the nicest vegan cheeses I’ve ever tried. I swear you wouldn’t know that it isn’t real cheese! This No-Muh Aromatic cheese tastes like a medium cheddar and I ate it with apple chutney on a panini. I would eat this cheese by itself straight from the fridge, or on crackers! It cut like real cheese and it was crumbly like cheddar too, with a tangy flavour.

Vegusto Review / JesstheticsVegusto Review / JesstheticsThe No-Muh Piquant was also lovely. This cheese is my favourite! I ate it on top of a panini and grilled veg, and it is most similar to a mild parmesan. It’s more crumbly and has a stronger flavour than the No-Muh Aromatic but I would also eat this cheese straight from the fridge.

Vegusto Review / JesstheticsVegusto Review / jesstheticsDid you know that most dark chocolate is vegan? Now you do! This coconut and raspberry dark chocolate is no exception, and I enjoyed this with a cup of tea and an episode of Buffy 🙂 The sweetness of the raspberry really cut through the bitterness of the chocolate and the coconut was a nice crunch, although the coconut flavour didn’t stand out.

Don’t forget that you could win all of these Vegusto goodies and more by entering my giveaway! Have you tried any vegan meat, cheese or chocolate products?

9

Veganuary – Five Favourites

I’ve been thinking about becoming vegan for a long time. I would be happy to eat eggs and drink milk from animals which I knew were happy and well looked after but the majority of the time that’s not the case or there’s no way of knowing, and since I’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons, becoming vegan makes sense. Plus, it’s good for the planet! I’d been putting it off because it sounded unpleasant (no cheese?!) and also difficult. I thought it would be hard or expensive to buy food at the supermarket and in restaurants. Me and James started veganuary when we moved back to York because it’s a good way to try out veganism without the commitment. I decided I would still eat my Christmas chocolate, and for now we both eat vegetarian meals in restaurants if there’s no vegan option. I believe it’s better to make changes like this gradually!

I’ve actually had a lot of fun cooking vegan food, and I’ve never felt hungry or restricted. In fact, we’ve been trying so many things, I’ve rarely eaten the same thing twice! I thought it would be fun to share with you my five favourite meals from January, and an overview of what we’ve been eating.

1. Sunday Roast! We ate nut roast, roast potatoes, mustard parsnips, broccoli, veggie sausages and lots of gravy.

veganuary 1

2. Peppered Tofu Steak. We baked and then grilled the tofu and ate it with sweet chilli sauce, grilled peppers, burger buns and a green salad.

veganuary 5

3. Quesadillas (recipe from Oh Dear Drea). We ate these with some avocado and vinegar.

veganuary 2

4. Burritos with veggie chilli. We spread vegan cream cheese on the tortillas and it was so tasty!

veganuary 4

5. Quinoa burgers (recipe from Delciously Ella). We ate these with home-made french fries, mushy peas and fried mushrooms (not a healthy combination but a tasty one…)

veganuary 3

For breakfast, we’ve been enjoying alpro yoghurt, fruit, maple syrup, and granola with vegan pancakes and cinnamon bagels on the weekend. For lunch I’ve been eating a lot of bagels with hummus, vegan cream cheese, tomato and basil or guacamole and James has been eating salads with pasta, rice or cous cous. For dinner, as well as my favourites we’ve been eating lots of curry and noodles, soup, pie, risotto, tapas, tacos and grilled vegetables.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! I’m definitely going to be vegan into February and beyond! If you’re still feeling nosy about what vegans eat my blogger buddy Laila wrote a brilliant post about food (here).