Cinnamon swirl scones

vegan cinnamon swirl scones

We had a hankering for cinnamon buns with their heart warming, amazing aroma that fills the entire house, not just the kitchen. It’s such a warm and cosy smell, ideal for bringing a little light and spice to a dreary old day. But cinnamon buns do take a while to make, you need time for the dough to prove twice, so it’s not a rush job that can be quickly assembled in time for an impromptu tea, and definitely not ideal during a jam-packed summer holiday.

These cinnamon scones, on the other hand, are a complete doddle to make, and also fill the house with lovely sweet cinnamon aromas; they taste mighty fine too! Probably not one to add jam to, but a smidgen of dairy-free margarine, or for a proper cream tea effect – a swirl of dairy-free cream such as Soyatoo and you have a tea fit for Royalty. I gave my scones a drizzle of white water icing to give a truly authentic appearance, but they’re just as lovely with a light sprinkle of the sugar and cinnamon mix before baking, giving a lovely craggy and crispy top – yum!

Cinnamon Swirl Scones

dairy-free cinnamon scones

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

220g plain flour

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsps dairy-free margarine

2 tbsp caster sugar

150ml dairy-free milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Grease and flour a baking sheet
  2. Mix together the tsp of cinnamon and tbsp brown sugar and set aside
  3. Rub the margarine into the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in the sugar. Pour in the oat milk and very gently bring together to form a very soft dough.
  4. Pat out into a large circle, sprinkle over most of the sugar and cinnamon mix [keep aside enough to sprinkle on the tops], then roll the dough into a sausage shape to encase the sugar. Pat out with your fingers and stamp out circles.
  5. Place on the baking sheet , brush with oat milk and sprinkle over the remaining sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack and then drizzle with water icing, if desired.

egg-free, nut free cinnamon scones

dairyer cream tea, scones filled with cream!

The Seed, Buckfastleigh, Devon

I’m always delighted to find an independent health food shop, especially one in such a tiny, cute town as Buckfastleigh. It was very unexpected in such a small place, and it was one minute’s walk from where we stayed. A most welcome find :-)

Well stocked with plenty of dairy free cheeses and milks, gorgeous fresh fruit and veg and also great coffee on tap. The staff were super friendly and helpful, with bags of local knowledge and advice. What’s not to like? Well worth a browse if you’re passing….

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Rainbow Salad Platter

rainbow salad plate, vegan

Do you struggle to get your children to eat salad? It used to be a real problem for us – while I could easily live off salad, my children weren’t keen; other than happily wolfing down bowls of cucumber or perhaps the odd carrot, salads lay sadly ignored on the side of the plate. This salad platter changed all that – effectively a rainbow themed plate of yummy salad style ingredients to help yourself to, accompanied up a classic French dressing – they both dived back in for seconds. Result! Besides, it does look appealing and there is something nice about taking what you please.

Think of this platter as more of a template rather than a recipe – as long as you have all the colours accounted for, and I’m a great believer that food should be colourful, with a central starch then you’re good to go!

dairy-free, child friendly salad plate

Here are a few suggestions:

White centre – rice, couscous, boiled new potatoes, pasta, quinoa,
Red- tomatoes, red pepper
Orange – orange pepper, carrots, roasted squash
Yellow – corn, yellow pepper, roasted yellow courgettes
Green – lettuce leaves, avocado, cucumber, green beans
Blue – this one is a bit tricky! – purple sprouting broccoli, blueberries
Indigo – red cabbage, olives
Violet – beet root, dark red salad leaves, olives

rainbow salad bowl, dairy-free

For the dressing:

1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper and a pinch of salt

salad for children

The Bran Tub, Petersfield

Health Shops, worth taking a detour for:

The Bran Tub, Petersfield, Hampshire, UK

This lovely, cavernous health food shop has been a regular pilgrimage for us – a true well stocked treasure trove which is always buzzing with customers. I’ve found some real hard to find gems here, from soya condensed milk to real dairy-free choc ices. Definitely well worth a visit!

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Iced Gem Biscuits

dairy-free iced gem biscuits Are there any biscuits as pretty as iced gems? The pastel hued crunchy iced top immediately draws the eye and nothing compliments a tea party more (whether real or for dolls) than a saucer full of these pretty little gems. I’ve always noticed my daughters looking on, with a hint of envy, when they’ve seen friends devouring these colourful little morsels – anything that pretty surely must taste divine too! vegan iced gem biscuits I’d always though a recreation would not be possible as royal icing was way out of my grasp – that was until aquafaba came along, and suddenly an icing that properly hardens was possible. I played with and tweaked a recipe after trying a few versions that are on the community Facebook page ‘vegan meringues, hits and misses’ and came up with a version that I was happy with, both taste and consistency-wise. The key to a good iced gem is to pipe the tops first onto baking parchment and let them fully dry for about 24 hours before sticking them to the top of the little shortbread cookies, then the effect will be just right. If you are happy for the icing to remain soft inside then pipe away, straight onto the mini- shortbread biscuits. I have to say I was mighty pleased with the results – they are even prettier than I imagined  (hence the overload of photos) and have been declared ‘heavenly’ so I think these may have to feature quite heavily in upcoming birthday party teas!

Iced Gem Biscuits

egg-free iced gem biscuits

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

makes more than 100!vegan iced gem cookies

for the shortbread:

225g plain flour

75g caster sugar

150g dairy-free margarine (I used Pure sunflower)

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out or 1 tsp vanilla extract

50g granulated sugar, to sprinkle

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the dairy-free spread and rub in with fingers. Once it starts to combine, bring together to form a soft dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1cm thickness. Cut into tiny little circles.
  4. Place on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the baking sheet round and bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. Once the shortbread is golden brown remove from oven. Cool on the baking sheet, then move to a wire rack.min shortbread biscuits, dairy-free

for the royal icing:

4 tbsps aquafaba (water from a tin of beans or chickpeas)

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

4 cups icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

food colouring as desired

  1. In a stand mixer, or an electric whisk, whisk together all the ingredients until a smooth thick paste is created.
  2. Colour as desired. I split the mixture into three, and then coloured each with natural food colouring.
  3. Using a closed star nozzle pipe individual flowers onto lined baking sheets and leave in a cool dry place to harden. It will take up to 24 hours.egg-free, vegan royal icing

egg-free royal icing flowers to top iced gems to assemble:

  1. Using a think water icing, attach the flower tops to each mini shortbread circle. Leave to set.
  2. These keep beautifully for at least 1 week.

vegan, nut-free iced gem biscuits

Pink Lemonade Ice Lollies

vegan pink lemonade ice lollies

This was a recipe from when it was sweltering (sadly no more!). We don’t usually have heat like that in the UK (it had been up to the mid 30s) and when we do the whole country grinds to a halt. The transport stops working, everyone spends the whole time saying ‘its just too hot’ and we just don’t know how to cope! It would be ok if we were on holiday in a hot climate, but here at home, we just can’t cope!

If you need a little assistance cooling down the next time it happens, these super zingy, tangy refreshing pink lemonade ice lollies will definitely help. The icy sweet lemony, strawberry ice will definitely lower your temperature – far more refreshing than a cloying creamy ice cream. These are also perfect for the whole family, sweet enough for the children to dive into, and also zingy and refreshing enough to appeal to adult palettes alike. So when the mercury in the thermometer is rising, make sure you get a batch of these into the freezer, you’ll be so happy you did!

Pink Lemonade Ice Lollies

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

dairy-free pink lemonade ice lolly, popsicle

Makes 4

100g granulated sugar
100ml water
Juice of 3 lemons
100g strawberry purée

  1. First make the strawberry puree – blitz up the strawberries and then pass through a fine sieve to make it as smooth as possible
  2. Dissolve the sugar into the water over a low-ish heat to make a basic stock syrup. Add the lemon juice and strawberry purée, stir well.
  3. Pour into ice lolly moulds and place in the freezer to set

pink lemonade ice lolly

Dairy-free homemade Twix bars

dairy-free Twix bar Part two of my series of recreations of classic chocolate bars is the iconic Twix bar- surely a common favourite. As I’ve always maintained, my ultimate aim is to recreate any food item in an allergen friendly form, maybe one day everyone, everywhere, will be able to enjoy the same things and no children will have to make do with the odd ‘special’ food that has been packed to make them safe. Too much of an ask? I don’t think so! vegan homemade twix bar Besides, I definitely think the average diet has too much emphasis on animal based products and it is better for us and our planet to find alternatives. Look at aquafaba meringues – a meringue made of a by-product from legume consumption has to be friendlier to the environment than eggs, often produced by chicken in horrific conditions? Anyway, that’s beside the point, right now this post is about recreating a classic chocolate bar so my girls can say they’ve eaten a Twix, know what it should taste like and not feel like they’ve missed out. A Twix bar is relatively simple to recreate; basically a variation of millionaire’s shortbread: a shortbread base topped with gooey caramel and then enrobed in chocolate. The difficultly, if there is one, is the gooey caramel as it’s easy to end up with break-your-teeth stuff instead! I used a mixture of dairy-free margarine, sugar and condensed soya milk to make a fantastically authentic substitute and I was extremely happy with the final results. If you want proper chocolate bar style like mine, you’ll definitely need some chocolate bar moulds (I recommend these from Mason Cash) for giving fantastic results, or you could opt for a more free-form result and simply spread the caramel over the shortbread, then pour over some melted chocolate – it may not look as professional, but it’ll still taste mighty fine!

Homemade Dairy-free Twix Bars

(dairy-free. egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free twix

Makes about 12 with leftover shortbread fingers to be enjoyed simply sprinkled with sugar

For the shortbread:

225g plain flour

75g golden caster sugar

150g dairy-free margarine (I used Pure sunflower)

1 vanilla pod seeds scraped out, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp granulated sugar, to sprinkle [for the leftover ones]

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.  Line a baking sheet with parchment
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the dairy-free spread and rub in with fingers. Once it starts to combine, bring together to form a soft dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1cm thickness. Cut into even sized shapes to fit the chocolate moulds you are using
  4. Place on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the baking sheet round and bake for another 10 minutes.
  5. [for the ones not used in the Twix bars] Once the shortbread is golden brown remove from oven. Leaving it on the baking sheet, dust with the granulated sugar. Cool on the baking sheet.shortbread fingers for twix bars, vegan

For the caramel layer:

1 can of soya condensed milk

2 tbsp dairy-free spread/margarine

4 tbsp soft brown sugar

  1. Melt the sugar into the condensed milk, stir in the spread. Then bring to a boil for about 5 minutes to thicken the caramel (be sure to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan). Once thickened and caramel like, set aside to cool.making vegan twin bars

For the chocolate coating:

150g dairy-free chocolate, melted and tempered

Assembly:

  1. Start by tempering the chocolate. In a microwave or over a Bain Marie, only just melt the chocolate, then stir until all the pieces are melted. You need to bring it down to degrees either by stirring in the bowl until the temp had reduced or pouring out onto a cold work top ( I have a marble board which is perfect for the job) and move it around with a palette knife until it has cooled and has turned beautifully shiny.
  2. Pour a blob into each mould and evenly coat all the sides, a small brand new paint brush may help. Leave to set for a few minutes and then paint on another layer (or preferably two more). Place in a cool spot to firm up.
  3. Spoon caramel into the lined chocolate moulds, squeeze a shortbread finger on top and then seal with more melted chocolate.assembling homemade twix bars
  4. Leave to set in a cool place, cover in foil for an authentic look and keep in the fridge.dairy-free nut-free twix bar

Sticky syrup cake

Sticky dairy-free, egg-free golden syrup cakeI make a lot of cakes but I often give them away and rarely hanker after them myself. I certainly like a slice now and then but I don’t crave cake like some people do. However, over the weekend, I had a hankering for a sticky, syrupy, gooey cake – I think partly because we’ve returned from a super hot and sunny holiday in Corsica to a chilly, wet and miserable UK, I just really needed some warming comfort food! There is a recipe already on my blog for a golden syrup cake which is pretty yummy, but it wasn’t what I was after – it had to be sticky and syrupy at the same time. So, into the kitchen I went, with my figurative experimenting hat on, and here’s the resulting cake – super tasty and syrupy with a lovely sticky top and rivers of syrup drizzle running through the light and delicate sponge (yes, you heard me right ‘rivers of syrup’ now who could resist that!) vegan golden syrup cake This may be the ultimate bear hug of a comforting cake, and you may think it more suitable for cold crisp days, but as isn’t iced it travels extremely well, in fact the flavour improves if it warms a little, making it perfect for summer picnics too.

Sticky Syrup Cake

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

vegan syrup cake

200g self-raising flour 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 50g soft brown sugar 50g golden syrup Pinch of salt 100ml sunflower oil 150ml dairy-free milk 1/2 tsp lemon juice

For the topping:

1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup, warmed until runny Pearl sugar for sprinkling (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade and line a loaf tin
  2. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Combine the syrup, oil, dairy-free milk and lemon juice. Give it a stir and pour into the dry. Gently mix to make a smooth and runny batter
  4. Pour into the lined tin and bake for about 40 minutes until risen, golden and a knife comes out clean
  5. Whilst the cake is still warm, prick the top with a skewer or knife and spoon over the syrup 9which has been warmed to make it extra runny), sprinkle with pearl sugar if using. Remove from the tin and leave to cool.

sticky syrup cake dairy-free and egg-free

Petit Beurre Biscuits (dairy-free)

 

vegan chocolate coated petit beurre cookies

Here is another riff on a classic. I was given this lovely petit beurre making kit by Mason Cash and couldn’t wait to make a safe version for my girls. Chocolate coated biscuits are unfailingly popular and such a classic, but petit beurre must be the prettiest with their stamp of chocolate on top; and since we’ve just returned from a lovely French holiday where chocolate coated petit beurre biscuits are pretty much a national obsession, the time was right to start experimenting.

dairy-free petit beurre biscuits

 

I did some research online and it seems that a classic petit beurre biscuit is made differently to most, with melted butter and water being stirred into the dry ingredients. I tweaked the recipe to make it a friendly version and the results are very pleasing. However be warned, the dough is very springy and the shapes reduce in size considerably when cut out – they then bounce back! Make sure they’re rolled fairly thin or your’ll end up with a thick doughy biscuits rather than a thin cracker like affair.

mason cash petit beurre kit

They went down an absolute storm (despite me using the wrong side of the chocolate moulds and the stamps being upside down – oops!); who can resist a chocolate coated biscuit after all? If you’re not lucky enough to have the branded mould, just set slabs of melted chocolate onto some baking paper and then stick those onto of the biscuits – they may not look as pretty, but they’ll still taste divine :-)

Petit Beurre Biscuits

chocolate coated dairy-free, egg-free biscuits

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

Makes lots!

100g sugar
100g dairy-free spread/margarine
100ml water
1/4 tsp salt
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
100g dairy-free chocolate

  1. In a large saucepan melt together the sugar, spread, vanilla and water until the sugar has dissolved, then cool a little. Stir in the dry ingredients to form a thick dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to cool
  2. Meanwhile, melt and, if possible, temper the chocolate and fill the moulds (or make relevant shapes on baking parchment). Leave to set.
  3. Once chilled, roll out the dough, you want it to be pretty thin, probably about 2-3 mm, then cut or stamp out shapes. If you don’t have a petit beurre stamper (which is probably unlikely!) prick each shape with a fork and transfer to a baking sheet.stamping out petit beurre
  4. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are starting to turn golden around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.plain petit beurre, egg and dairy free
  5. Once cool, attach the chocolate stamp with a smear of melted chocolate.

vegan chocolate biscuits

Garlic and Herb Knots

garlic and herb knots I do like making us some interesting bread for a weekend lunch – it makes such a welcome change from the boring sliced bread we’re normally forced to buy. Little S’s sesame allergy means all bakery products are out of bounds and the ready packed varieties are also few and far between. Our bread options get rather monotonous and I so like giving her the opportunity to try all types of gorgeous, fresh baked bread as there is not much better that warm home baked loaves. I found that if I make a bigger batch and freeze half then we always have something interesting to hand. This recipe provides a double whammy of interesting flavour coupled with shape.I think shape is just as important as flavour/smell in making something basic become special. I’ve always found knot shapes particularly appealing and whilst looking complicated, they are so easy to make. You effectively roll out a sausage shape but taper the ends slightly and then tie in a loose knot – simple! The garlic and herb in this recipe adds a subtle twang, enough to get the gist but nothing too overpowering, just as I like it. However, if you’re more of a garlic fan than me, add more and then you can crank it up as much as you like! garlic herb knot rolls

Garlic Herby Knots

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

garlic and herb bread rolls

makes 12 rolls

300ml oat milk

2 tbsps dairy-free spread

1 tbsps syrup

400-450g strong white bread flour

1 tbsp dried yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, crushed

black pepper

oat milk, for brushing

rock salt for sprinkling

  1. Warm the oat milk, spread and syrup together until the spread has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and salt.
  3. Stir in the herbs and garlic, and a good grind of black pepper.
  4. Pour the milk mixture into the flour. Mix until it has come together to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn out and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.
  6. Place back in the bowl, cover with oiled cling-film and leave to rise for about an hour (it should double in size).
  7. Once the dough has risen, knock back and knead again to form a smooth ball.
  8. Cut into 12 even sized pieces and roll each into a sausage with tapered ends. Tie in a knot and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.making a bread knotbread knots
  9. Loosely cover with oiled cling-film and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade/210 degrees fan/Gas Mark 6
  11. Remove the cling-film. Brush the tops with oat milk and sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and sounding hollow when tapped.
  13. Cool on a wire rack.

garlicky herb rolls