Chocolate caramel popcorn cookies

chocolate popcorn cookies, vegan

Here’s a handy way of perking up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The popcorn gives an added textural dimension and the caramel essence gives an delicious unexpected flavour. Make sure the popcorn is well popped though – finding any hard kern ally bits in your cookie would not be a nice surprise!

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Cookies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

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makes 12-16

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/3 cup oat milk
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp caramel essence
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup popcorn
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade, grease two baking sheets.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, oil, milk, cornflour and essence until to looks like a thick caramel. Sift in the flour, salt and bicarbonate and bring together to a soft dough. Stir in the popcorn and chocolate chips.
  3. Roll into conker sized balls and place well apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes until starting o turn golden.
  4. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack.

chocolate caramel popcorn cookies, dairy free, egg-free

 

 

 

 

Pasta Primavera with Chive Gremolata

dairy-free pasta primavera

Pasta for the whole family so often reverts to a tomato based affair, and whilst it can have numerous variations and be utterly delicious it can also become a little monotonous – you need some variety in your life, after all!

I’ve been really craving bright green veg recently – I think the change in season has altered my taste buds and I’m suddenly after colour and freshness. In browsing some cookbooks to get some supper inspiration I came across a risotto primavera but wasn’t quite in the mood for a rice dish, so instead I decided to mix up the idea and it turned into a pasta dish. And not just any old pasta dish, a blinding stunner of a spring pasta dish full of green vibrancy.

The gremolata may seem a step too far, but it really adds the finishing touch, without it the sauce loses it zip and zing, but with it it’s transported to the realms of utterly delicious.

Pasta Primavera with Chive Gremolata (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free,  can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan creamy pasta with spring veg

serves 2

  • 3 spring onions, white only, finely sliced
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful asparagus, chopped into 2 cm long pieces
  • Handful frozen peas, defrosted,
  • The green parts of the spring onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Handful watercress
  • Handful parsley, shredded
  • 4 tbsp dairy-free cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 180g dried pasta
  1. First make the Gremolata. Fry the spring onions in the oil until starting to turn golden. Tip into a bowl and add the lemon and chives. Set aside

chive and spring onion gremolata

  1. Put the pasta on to cook. In the same frying pan you’d used for the spring onion frying, add a splash of oil and the onions and asparagus. When they’ve started to soften after a couple of minutes, add the peas and garlic and continue to cook, stirring now and then.
  2. Once all the veg is tender add the watercress, parsley and cream, pour in a ladleful of the pasta water to make the sauce silky. Taste and season.
  3. Once cooked add the pasta to the sauce and toss well. Serve with Gremolata sprinkled on top. 

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Bagel buns

eggfree, dairyfree bagel buns I had a flash of inspiration the other day – how about bagels with no holes? Instead, making them into rolls with that typically chewy exterior and tender insides that would make the perfect vehicle for a burger. That would stand up to a robust filling without danger of disintegration at a crucial moment. Genius! Maybe it isn’t a new idea and you have all been happily eating bagel buns for years, but it’s a new concept to me! I think I’ve mentioned before the pleasure we get from making and eating different types of bread when we’re normally restricted to a limited boring selection. But theses bagel buns were a real success both as an accompaniment to soup and as the bun for a burger – so maybe, just maybe even more versatile than a regular bagel?! 20150516-073254.jpg Bagel Buns (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) vegan bagel burger buns makes 12

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp quick action yeast
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 300ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp dairyfree milk for brushing
  • Salt crystals for sprinkling
  1. Pour the flour, yeast, sugars and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the water and oil, bring together and then knead until you have a silky, pliable, smooth dough. This can be done in a stand mixer if you have one. Cover and leave in a warm place to double in size
  2. Knock back and cut into eight equal pieces, roll each into a ball and then place on a greased baking sheet, covering the rolls with oiled cling-film, to rise again. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade
  3. Bring a pan of water to the boil and then tip in the bicarbonate to make a fizzing, boiling liquid. In small batches place the buns into the boiling liquid for about 30 seconds, remove and drain on a clean tea towel.
  4. Place back on the oiled baking sheet, brush with dairy-free milk and place straight in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

The Best Spicy Bean Burger, Mexican Style

Light and Airy Chocolate Mousse

egg-free, dairy-free light and airy chocolate mousse A classic chocolate mousse is such an iconic, desirable pudding that few can resist. I’ve got other delicious chocolate puddings on my blog: rich chocolate pots, chocolate mousse cakes and chocolate fondants but nothing that is quite like this light and airy classic chocolate mousse that any chocolate lover will find utterly irresistible. There’s something so amazing about the light and bubbly texture of a mousse; an indulgent dessert is transformed into a delicate and light delight.

This recipe makes chocolate mousse which is as bubbly, light and airy as a traditional (egg-containing) mousse. In fact, its maybe even better, lighter and fluffier than a traditional egg white based mousse. My girls were in rapture, declaring these mousses an utter triumph and far superior to any store bought chocolate pudding. They really are so light.

Make sure you keep checking the Facebook group: Vegan meringues hit and misses for more inspiration :-)

 

decadent freefrom chocolate mousse Light and Airy Chocolate Mousse (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, can be gluten-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) vegan chocolate mousse Makes 4 ramekin sized mousses

  • 100 g dark dairy-free chocolate
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba also known as the water from a tin of beans or chickpeas
  • Large pinch of cream of tartar, maybe about 1/8th tsp
  • 2 tbsps caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free cream, I used Oatly
  • 1 tsp vanilla

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  1. Using a stand mixer or a handheld electric whisk, beat the aquafaba with the cream of tartar until it forms light clouds of meringue style foam. Beat in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time. Set aside.
  2. Melt the chocolate either over a Bain Marie or in a microwave, stir in the dairy-free cream a little at a time so the mixture doesn’t seize up. Stir in the vanilla
  3. Beat 1/4 of the meringue mix into the chocolate cream to slacken the mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue mixture, trying to keep as much volume as possible
  4. Pour into 4 ramekins and place in the fridge for at least an hour to set.

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Link up your recipe of the week

The Best Spicy Bean Burgers, Mexican Style

The Best Spicy Bean Burger, Mexican Style

¡Viva México! These knock-your-socks-off, totally delicious veggie bean burgers are all about Mexican flavours: spices, coriander, spring onions, lime, beans and crushed up tortilla chips. You can go as hot as you like by adding chilli or your favourite hot sauce. Those are my kind of ingredients.  I’ve made dozens of types of veggie burger and these are probably my favourites. Give the mix a bit of time for those flavours to mingle and the texture to firm up, and that’s what makes these patties great. There’s no crumble factor with these, making them perfect for frying pan, grill or BBQ. It’s so often that veggie burgers don’t have the right texture.

Serve in buns, or wrapped up in tortillas, topped with  salsa, pickles… anything you want.

The Best Spicy Bean Burgers, Mexican Style (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Mexican Spiced bean burgers

makes 4 patties

  • 2 handfuls tortilla chips
  • 1 tin pinto or borlotti beans
  • 1 handful of coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 squeeze lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsps salsa, preferably fridge salsa, or Mexican hot sauce (or combination of both!)

– Whizz up the tortilla chips in a food processor (or crush) until they’re a small rough crumb

– Add all the other ingredients to the food processor and pulse until well combined.

– Turn into a bowl and leave for an hour or so, for the flavours to mix. Taste and preseason if necessary.

– Form into 4 even sized patties, cover and refrigerate until needed

– Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 6

– Fry in a small amount of oil until nicely browned

– Then move to the oven for 10-15 minutes.

– Serve in buns with garnished with more salsa

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Knock your socks off tasty bean burger, Mexican Style

 

Double chocolate chip ice cream

 

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Mmm, rich dark chocolate ice cream flecked with chocolate chips. This certainly is a luxurious and decadent dessert.

My new ice cream machine seems to be having almost daily outings, but I’m finding that many attempts just don’t have the resulting creamy taste. I know most people turn to coconut milk to achieve the correct creaminess, but I’m keen to go in a different direction. It’s funny because I thought my girls would be wowed by different flavoured ice creams, but since they’ve hardly ever eaten it, except for Swedish Glace, they just don’t have the taste for it. They find it too rich and often struggle to finish a bowlful! Much happier with a sorbet.

This one, while undeniably rich, has been the biggest hit so far; creamy without being cloying. The cocoa gives a far superior chocolate flavour than when I used melted chocolate and the chips gives a wonderful chocolate crunch. Being so luxuriously decadent, a small portion is plenty, making it almost a healthy option.

Dairy-free and egg-free double chocolate ice cream

Double Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

Serves 4

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk, I used Oatly
  • 1 1/2 cup dairy-free cream, again I recommend Oatly cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

– In a small saucepan melt together the cocoa, sugars, salt and dairy-free milk until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.
– Pour in the dairy-free cream and vanilla, stir well
– If using an ice cream machine, following the machine instructions, pour in the cocoa cream and churn until you have a smooth ice cream. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer to a tub and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm up
– If making the ice cream by hand, pour into a freezer safe container, after about 1 hour, remove and blend the mixture in a food processor, stir in the choc chips and return to the freezer to fully firm up.

dairy-free chocolate ice cream

Egg-free Pavlova Revisited

egg-free pavlova

A pavlova is such an iconic dessert, isn’t it? It seems to carry a big wow factor and is a suitable ending to a summer gathering. Essentially pretty simple with its sweet and marshmallowy meringue base topped with piles of whipped cream and fruit. Hardly a recipe you might say?

Well I have made a lovely egg-free pavlova before, but with my previous meringue recipe it was quite difficult to make a meringue of any notable size. Not so with aquafaba or chickpea water, where any size seems possible, making it perfect to create the base of a pavlova pud. I didn’t have any dairy-free whippable cream to hand so I made a quick vanilla fromage frais to stand in – the slight tartness actually worked as an excellent contrast to the sugary sweet meringue. I chose to top mine with sweet raspberries and strawberries. It was wolfed down in seconds!

A word of warning though, it must be eaten straight after assembly as the liquid in the topping starts to melt the meringue. A few minutes is fine as the meringue turns sticky and chewy, which is just right for the centre of a pavlova – any longer and you’ll have a gooey mess!

vegan berry pavlova

Pavlova (egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free pavlova

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar, whizzed up to make it a bit finer
  • 1/3 cup chickpea brine
  • 1 tsp arrowroot
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

– Preheat the oven to 130 degrees centigrade

– Whip together the chickpea brine and arrowroot until soft peaks are starting to form

– Beat in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time until it is all incorporated and you have a gorgeous mound of shiny meringue

– Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice

– Dollop a mound of meringue onto a lined baking sheet, spread into a circle shape with a slight dip in the centre

– Turn down the oven to 120 degrees centigrade and bake for 2 hours or until the meringue safely peels off the baking paper

– Top with the vanilla fromage frais and fruit of choice. Eat straight away!

Vanilla Fromage Frais (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free vanilla fromage frais topping an egg-free pavlova

  • Half a tub of plain dairy-free yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsps icing sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla

– Line a sieve with a new clean J-cloth, or some cheesecloth

– Pour the yogurt into the lined sieve and place in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight to drain off the liquid

– Beat the sugar and vanilla into the thickened yogurt, serve

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Green Goddess Sandwiches

Green Goddess Sandwich

Do you get bored with sandwiches too? I get so fed up with sandwiches, always faced with the same old fillings. This sandwich is different, a class above, a ‘Gosh, I really must have one of those again’ kind of sandwich, the kind of sandwich which would feature in your dreams!

Even D who eats everything except fish and would normally head for cheese in his sandwich declared it delicious – high praise indeed! Basically it’s not much more than a layering of green and herby ingredients, but the icing on the cake (or should I say the spread in the sandwich!) is the basil mayo, which adds a punch of flavour to those fresh green ingredients. Although a quick word of warning, I’ve enjoyed these so much I have them all the time now!

Green Goddess Sandwich (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

constructing a Green Goddess Sandwich

you will need:

  • wholewheat bread
  • salad leaves such as little gem
  • parsley leaves
  • garden cress
  • spring onions
  • gherkins
  • cucumber
  • avocado

for the basil mayo: [serves 2]

  • 3 tbsp egg-free mayo
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • Dash of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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To layer in the sandwich, in order from top to bottom:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Basil mayo
  • Grind of black pepper
  • Salad leaves
  • Garden cress
  • Parsley leaves
  • Sliced spring onions
  • Sliced gherkins
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced avocado
  • Basil mayo
  • Whole wheat bread

Green Goddess Vegan sandwich

Fondant Fancy Cupcakes

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Did you read my post for fondant fancies and think ‘ooh they look nice, but what a faff to cut the cake, nappage and ice all sides’. Well, after making them I did too! They were a real labour of love, but the girls found them so pretty that they wanted to take them in as a Friday treat for their school friends. I didn’t have the time to spend another entire afternoon making about 40 fondant fancies, but at the same time didn’t want to disappoint – I want my girls to be proud of the food they eat and to experience their friends enjoying it too.

So thats where this brainwave of an idea came from – cupcakes that look just like, and taste just like fondant fancies, but without the labour intensive icing. And they were a BIG hit! Such a big hit, I’ve already had to make them again, hence the fluoro and pastel versions in the photos!

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Fondant Fancy Cupcakes (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12

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for the sponge:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 150ml oat or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5

– Line a cupcake tray with liners.

– Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar.

– In a separate bowl, mix together the oat milk, bicarb, lemon, vanilla and oil.

– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix, until well combined.

– 2/3rds fill each cupcake case and bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden and a knife comes out clean.

– Cool on a wire rack.

for the buttercream blobs:

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  • 2 tbsp vegetable fat (such as Trex)
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free spread (such as Pure)
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp cup oat milk

– Whisk together the spread and vegetable fat.

– Add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time with a splash of the oat milk, until fully combined and nice and fluffy.

for the icing:

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  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • water
  • food colouring

– Gradually add  little bit of water at a time until you have a thick but pourable icing

– Place 2 tbsp in a icing bag with a narrow tip

– Colour the rest with a lovely pastel food colouring

To assemble:

  1. Pipe or spoon a dollop of buttercream onto the top of each cupcake, set aside for a while to firm up
  2. Spoon some water icing over each cupcake. Drizzle over white icing lines.
  3. Leave to set
  4. These fancies keep well for up to 4 or 5 days

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Baked Alaska

 

baked alaska

Egg-free, dairy-free vegan baked alaska

 

I hadn’t thought about Baked Alaska for years and years, at least until last year’s Great British Bake Off which challenged the contestants to make one. This resulted in scandal and newspaper coverage as one contestant left another’s out of the freezer, to a sorry fate of melting on the side board. Not really newsworthy you may say, well maybe not, but all the same a little light relief on the news front compared to normal.

So I hadn’t thought of Baked Alaska for ages – it’s such a 1980s pudding isn’t it? But that show made me feel sad that I’d never be able to create one for my girls to try; Italian meringue was certainly out of my reach this time last year. I even though of trying to create a hollow meringue ‘mountain’ to stuff full of ice cream to give a similar effect, but even that wouldn’t have given the results I wanted. So Baked Alaska was shelved. Until now!

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Since my success with aquafaba and a particularly successful Italian meringue for lemon meringue pie, the time to try Baked Alaska had arrived.

And what a winner. The results are stunning, with piles of lightly browned fluffy billowy white Italian meringue coating cool ice cream and rich chocolate sponge – my girls declared it “the best pudding ever”! And that’s quite high praise, as you might have noticed a fair few puds on this blog!

Clearly this can’t be assembled in advance, but the ice cream can be moulded and left in the freezer until ready, the chocolate loaf can be baked and ready to cut into discs and the Italian meringue will, at a push, sit happily in the fridge over night. It is a bit of a faff, well, several processes, but if you want a knock-your-socks-off ‘wow’ kind of delicious pudding, then this is the one to go for.

Baked Alaska (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free [if use gluten-free sponge], vegetarian and vegan)

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Makes 4 mini Baked Alaska, enough to feed 8, or 4 hungry mouths!

You will need:

  1. 1 chocolate sponge, this recipe works perfectly
  2. dairy-free ice cream, preferably 2 flavours – 1 used homemade strawberry, with vanilla Swedish Glace
  3. 1 batch of aquafaba [chick-pea brine] Italian meringue

To prepare:

  • line 4 round bottomed small bowls or ramekins with cling-film
  • layer in the ice cream, wrap the cling-film over the top and place in the freezer for at least an hour
  • bake the chocolate sponge, then leave to cool
  • next make the Italian meringue

Italian Meringue

  • water from one tin of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of zantham gum
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

– Whisk 1/3 cup chickpea water with a pinch of zantham gum and a pinch of cream of tartar until it forms soft peaks

– Melt together the remaining 1/4 cup chickpea water (or use water instead) and sugar and bring up to 242-248 degrees F/116-120 degrees Centigrade. If you use the chickpea brine to make the sugar syrup you may not get to the required temperature as it will start to caramelise, so as soon as it starts to turn golden, it’s time to use it.

– With the stand mixer on medium, slowly drizzle in the hot syrup into the meringue mix

– Turn up to high for a minute or two until you have piles of white glossy clouds of meringue, beat in the vanilla

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To assemble [just before serving or the ice cream will melt!]:

  • Cut slices of the chocolate cake and stamp out circles which match the size of the ice cream domes
  • 20150430-184333.jpgTake the ice cream out of the freezer, un-mould and place a dome onto each sponge disc.
  • 20150430-184343.jpgSpread the Italian meringue all over the ice cream domes, making sure they’re completely covered. Try and make as many peaks as possible
  • 20150430-184410.jpgIdeally using a cook’s blow-torch, brown the meringue all over until golden brown. Do watch out as it catches fire pretty easily.
  • Serve to gasps of delight and appreciation ;-)

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Pavlova