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?

3

Carrot and Pomegranate Cake

I have been trying and failing to bake a good cake for what feels like weeks – every time I put a cake in the aga (our oven) the oven goes out! That happened with this cake, but although it was still a little gooey, it was really tasty. I love the crunch that the pomegranate seeds give to the cake, and I love the grated carrot decoration! This recipe is adapted from The Vintage Tea Party Book  (which is full of beautiful photographs and recipes) although I’ve kept it mostly the same.

ginger and pomegranate cake 1

You will need:
125ml vegetable oil
150g flower
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
350ml of shredded carrot
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp diced ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
115g pomegranate seeds (from two pomegranates)
15ml water
100g  cream cheese
2 tbsp icing sugar

Step 1: Remove the pomegranate seeds from the pomegranates. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat and add the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. After two minutes, add the pomegranate seeds, 2 tbsps of sugar, and gradually add the water, stirring, until the mixture is a sticky syrup consistency, at which point take it off the heat.

carrot and pomegranate cake 4Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and the rest of the sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and yoghurt. Then, combine the flour mixture with the eggs mixture, the pomegranate syrup, and the grated carrot.

Step 3: Grease a baking tin, and pour in the mixture. Bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees C.

Step 4: Leave the cake to cool for twenty minutes, and then decorate with blobs of cream cheese, swirls of grated carrot, and icing sugar!ginger and pomegranate cake 3

Bon appetit 🙂 Have you done any baking recently? The chilly weather makes me want to bake lots of cake, but that isn’t helping my goal to eat more healthily. Carrot cake is one of your five a day, right?

4

Flavoured Water

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve been having a heatwave in England. Even with the recent thunderstorms, it is super warm. I don’t drink enough water at the best of times, let alone when there’s a heatwave! I made myself some flavoured water, and consuming water is now a whole lot easier. I’m not sure if it’s better for you than normal water but it is tastier, and that’s what matters.

You will need:
Any sort of fruit (except bannana.) Citrus fruit works well, as does cucumber!
A tray or two of ice cubes

Step 1: Chop up your fruit and veg, and muddle it (bash it with a spoon) in your jug! I used lemon, orange, cucumber and melon but in the fututre I’d like to try either cucumber by itself or lemon and orange.

flavoured water 1

flavoured water 2

The thermometer proves how hot it’s been. The photo was even taken at 5pm.

Step 2: Pour in your water and ice cubes and leave the jug in the fridge for an hour or two.

That’s it, simple! I think flavoured water would be really fun to have at dinner parties – the colouful fruit makes it look really classy 🙂 When you’ve finished your jug you can just keep on topping it up with water throughout the day.

flavoured water 3

flavoured water 4Cheers! I hope you’re enjoying the summer if it’s summer where you are. I’m enjoying spending some time with my boyfriend in the north east (we’re getting through season one of Buffy pretty quickly, I’m hooked) and trying not to think about the fact that I’m a graduate!

11

Lemon and Ginger Sorbet

Life here is hot, and I’m not complaining! When I need a little cooling down, I find sorbet so refreshing. I probably prefer sorbet to ice cream. No matter how full I am, I can always manage a scoop of sorbet! I had a go at making my own ginger and lemon version. I love this combination, ginger is one of my favourite flavours and it’s so good for you – it’s an anti-nauseant which means it’s a great hangover cure. Here’s how I did it,

You will need:
Four lemons
A big knob of ginger
400g sugar

sorbet 1

Step 1: Put the sugar in a large pan with 750 ml water. Peel and chop the ginger finely and add this to the pan with the juice of all four lemons, and the rind of one lemon.

Step 2: Simmer the pan for 30 mins

Step 3: Pour the mixture into a dish and freeze. If like me, you don’t have an ice cream mixture, just stir the sorbet after 2 hours and then leave to freeze overnight.

To serve, let the sorbet defrost in the fridge for ten minutes and give it a good stir before spooning into bowls or glasses.

sorbet 2

sorbet 3

Enjoy! How do you like to keep cool when it’s hot?

6

Mexican Eggs

I find it really hard to make lunch exciting sometimes, which is why I love this recipe so much. It’s exciting, tasty and quick to make!  I have adapted the recipe from one in this cookery book. It’s quite a hot recipe, so if you’re not good with spice, use less chilli!

mexican eggs 1

You will need:
3 eggs
1/2 a pepper
1 chilli
1 jalapeno
1 tortilla
1/2 a bag of salad
Mixed herbs

mexican eggs 2

Step 1: Chop up and fry the jalapeno, chilli and pepper. When they’re soft, crack the eggs into the pan, and stir until they’re cooked.

Step 2: Whilst the eggs and vegetables are frying, slice up the tortillas into strips and fry them in a pan with a little oil.

mexican eggs 3

Step 3: Place the fried tortillas on your plate, and season the egg mixture with salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Then place a handful of salad on top of the tortillas and spoon the egg mixture on top.

Enjoy with salad dressing or chilli sauce!

mexican eggs 4

Much better than soggy sandwiches, don’t you think? What are your favourite lunch recipes?

2

Kiwi and strawberry pastry

I am not very good at eating fruit. I always buy it, promising myself that then I will eat it, but I end up snacking on crisps instead! This means that I often find myself with a lot of fruit to use up. This easy fruit pastry is a great way to use up a lot of fruit quickly, and it is SO tasty and summery! You could swap the kiwi and strawberry for bannanas, peaches, mango, whatever you like 🙂

kiwi and strawberry 1
You will need:
A punnett of strawberries
3 kiwis
Honey
1 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 packet of puff pastry
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp ground almonds

kiwi and strawberry 2

Step 1: Chop up your fruit, and roll out your puff pastry so that it is rectangular.

Step 2: Spread out the fruit on your puff pastry, drizzle over some honey, and sprinkle on the coconut, sugar and almonds.

kiwi and strawberry 3

Step 3: Bake in your oven on 180 degrees, or until the edges turn crispy.

That’s it! Serve up with a dollop of cream or ice cream.

kiwi and strawberry 4

Maybe in the future I will be better at eating fruit, or maybe i’ll just give up and make lots of fruit pastries instead. This counts as healthy, right? Have a wonderful day 🙂

2

Everything Tacos

Did you know that tacos are traditionally made from soft bread, not those hard shells you get in supermarket taco packs? You probably did, but this information is new to me! I have recently fell in love with Warburton’s square wraps. I’ve been eating too many regular tortillas recently, and the square wraps are the perfect thickness for tacos. They remind me of the bread used in greek gyros wraps – yum!

I’ve called these everything tacos because you can (and should) put everything in them. This is the perfect way to use up leftovers!

everything tacos 1

For my everything tacos, I used two fillings, creamed corn and gujarati cabbage.

For the creamed corn, you will need:
1 onion
1 potato
1 chilli pepper
200ml single cream
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
500g frozen sweet corn
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

For the Gujarati cabbage, you will need:
1 red and 1 green chilli pepper
1 cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp ground almonds
100g peanuts
1tspn cumin
1 tspn mustard
1 lemon
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Square wraps

Optional: Hot sauce for dressing

everything tacos 2

Step 1: To make the creamed, corn, begin by taking the sweetcorn out of the freezer to defrost. Then chop the potato into cubes and boil in a pan of water. Whilst the potato is softening, fry up the onion and the chilli pepper.

Step 2: When the potatos have boiled and the onion has softened, put the potatos in the pan with the onion and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the sweetcorn, cream, and seasoning and leave to simmer for five minutes. Then your creamed corn is done!

everything tacos 3

Step 3: To make your gujarati cabbage, chop up the cabbage, and fry this in a little oil with the chillis for about fifteen minutes. When the cabbage has softened, stir in the mustard and the rest of the dry ingredients and leave this to fry for another five minutes. Lastly, squeeze in the lemon and stir.

everything tacos 4

To serve, warm up a couple of the sqaure wraps, and spoon in the creamed corn and gujarati cabbage. If, like me, you like to eat a lot of chilli, then add some hot sauce! Try to eat these without spilling any on yourself… it’s a challenge! The great thing about everything tacos is that you can freeze the fillings and save them for a day when you don’t have time to cook. Although the ingredients list looks long, you can cook these with just the basics, or you can improvise with whatever you have in your kitchen.

everything tacos 5

Happy cooking!