Thursday, 29 November 2012

Chocolate Vanilla Marble Cupcakes

These were a lot of fun to make. And Suki watched from the sofa hopefully throughout.

Simply make a bowl of your favourite vegan vanilla cake mix, and one of your favourite chocolate cake mix. You may want to make them a little thicker than usual, to ensure the two cake mixes don't mix together too much.

Pour by the heaped-teaspoonful into cake cases, in a ratio of about 50:50.

I'd usually use a skewer, but for these little cupcakes, I swirled the cake batters together with toothpicks. Try to keep most of the stirring towards the top of the cake, allowing the lower layers to stay more separate. Otherwise, you may risk stirring it together too much & the colours seeping into each other.
If you want a greater contrast and are willing to dabble in chemically ingredients (gasp!), then add a drop or two of black food colouring to your chocolate cake mix.

Bake at 180°C in a fan oven for 25 mins, or as per your usual recipe. When ready, a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.

I didn't want to detract too much from the pretty marbling, so I went for a simple chocolate ganache topping. But you could always leave them un-iced, or top them more imaginatively!

Jen x

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Beetroot Gnocchi

I love beetroot, and I love Gnocchi. And it turns out that beetroot gnocchi actually exists, so I figured I may as well give it a try...
Oh my, it was well worth it!
I made the gnocchi as follows, and served it with vegan pesto, spinach, sweetcorn and fried red peppers. I then topped it with my favourite vegan cheese.

1. Peel 2 medium to large raw beetroots, and chop into cubes of 1-2cm. Then boil for 20-30 minutes, or until soft enough to mash.
2. Once boiled, drain them, add 2 teaspoons of non-dairy margarine, and mash them thoroughly.
3. In a large bowl, combine the following & stir with a fork:
  • 1.5 cups plain white flour
  • 1/2 a cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp. egg replacer
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • pinch oregano, pinch marjoram, pinch nutmeg.
4. Add the mashed beetroot to the large bowl and stir it all together. Once it starts vaguely sticking together, knead it thoroughly until it forms a single ball. Add up to half a cup of cold water if you really struggle to get it to stay together (ideally the pink water drained from the beetroots).

5. (Now this is the time consuming part, but where it all finally comes together!)
Take a handful of the mix at a time and roll into a sausage about 1.5cm in diameter, on a floured surface.
Using a sharp knife, chop the sausage into 1-2cm segments. Then repeat with the rest.
6. Roll each piece in flour and press one side with a fork to create a rough surface for sauce to stick to.

7. Add to a pan of boiling water and boil for 4-7 minutes, until they begin to float. Then drain & eat! Cook as soon as possible, especially if the room is warm, or they may begin to stick together.

Jen x

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Chocolate Speculoos mini cupcakes

These are pretty quick & easy. This is partly because they're mini, so they take half the time to cook (and to cool!), compared to regular cupcakes. It's also because you use pre-made speculoos spread instead of having to make icing. Yippee!
If you're not familiar with it, speculoos is a caramelised biscuit, and it's delicious.

I just use my regular chocolate cake recipe for the cupcakes, which is...

1. Mix the following in a large bowl:
  • 4oz plain flour
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 4oz dairy-free margarine
  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs
  • 1 rounded teaspoon (tsp.) of baking powder
  • 1.5 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond or chocolate extract
  • Generous pinch cinnamon
2. Gradually add unsweetened soya milk, stirring well with a fork, until it becomes a thick batter of about the consistency of custard. This should be from 3/4 of a cup to about 1.5 cups of soya milk.

3. Spoon the mixture into mini baking cases, filling to 3/4 full. Use a mini cake pan, or silicone cups, to help them cook more evenly and retain their shape.

4. Bake at 180°C for 12-14 minutes.

When they're fully cooled, spoon a healthy dollop of speculoos spread on top of each and sprinkle with grated/curled dark chocolate. I topped these with mini spiced biscuits I got in the Netherlands, but you can always use large broken chunks of speculoos biscuits.

Jen x

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Easy Raw Salad

This makes a quick and easy lunch, or side salad.
You can grate, chop julienne or use a julienne peeler to do this. Just use whatever you have!

1. Julienne your vegetables: One red pepper, a carrot & a 10cm piece of cucumber.
2. Add the juice of half a lemon, half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a teaspoon of agave nectar. Then mix it all together well, with a fork.
3. Eat.

Jen x

Red rice & smoked tofu risotto

This is delicious and healthy...and pretty easy. Yay!


1. Pre-boil the red rice for about 20 minutes, then drain. Use about 80g of uncooked rice per person/portion.
2. Finely-chop, or crush, about 2 cloves* of garlic (*all given amounts are per portion being cooked).
3. Wash and chop half a red pepper, one carrot, a handful of green beans and a handful or so of broccoli.
4. Chop a block of tofu into cubes. I used a smoked tofu, with almonds and sesame seeds.
5. Throw the vegetables, tofu and garlic in a wok with olive oil, on a medium heat. Add sweetcorn too.
6. Cook for a few minutes and then add the rice.
7. Crumble one or two vegetable stock cubes (to taste) over it, and stir in. Also add about 1 tablespoon of madeira (or white) whine per portion.
8. Continue to cook on a medium heat, stiring continuously, until the rice is fully cooked. Add a handful or so of raw spinach about one minute before finishing, and stir it in until wilted.
9. Stir in some sundried/slow-roasted tomatos and EAT.

Jen x