Archive for July, 2011

Vegan soda bread

I’ve never made regular bread, with yeast. It all sounds very laborious and time consuming and I just don’t have the time for that kind of thing. But soda bread is SO freaking easy and quick you’ll want to make it all the time.

I gather that soda bread often has buttermilk as an ingredient, but here’s a wonderful vegan recipe. And I’ve made it lots, it’s great!

  • Preheat oven to 210 oC, preferably with an pizza or bread stone heating in the oven (you could probably use a baking tray if you don’t have one)
  • Makes 3 buns
  • 250g flour (I’ve used wholemeal, spelt and granary, all with great success)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 175ml unsweetened soya milk/other non-dairy milk
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp soya yogurt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp sugar
  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together
  2. Separately, mix together the milk, yogurt and sugar
  3. Add wet to dry and mix
  4. Put the mixture onto a floured surface, put flour on your hands and give the dough a quick knead to make it come together properly (no need to knead it in the way you would “normal” bread)
  5. Divide into 3 balls
  6. Flatten and press some seeds in the top (sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, sesame)
  7. Cut deep crosses into the top of each bun
  8. Bake for around 15-20 minutes

Here’s my granary buns before baking:

And here they are after baking:

This bread is quite dense, but really nice. It’s best to eat it within 24 hours of making it, because it can go quite hard if you leave it. But it’s so easy to make that you can throw it together at short notice and then you’ll want to eat it all because it’s so lovely fresh out of the oven.


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In my lunchbreak on Friday I wandered into Superdrug in Oxford. I’d heard things about some of Superdrug’s own brand products being vegan, so thought I’d investigate it and see if I could find some nice new face cream.

Holy crap. That place is awesome! Suffice to say I came out with considerably more than planned.

  • Sensitive whitening toothpaste : £1.25
  • Anti-perspirant deodrants: £1.19 each
  • Vitamin E intensive moisturising cream: £1.99
  • Essential moisturising cream: 99p
  • Tea tree exfoliating face wash: £2.99
  • Tea tree nose strips: £3.99
  • Exfoliating face wash: £2.59

I’ve had real difficulty finding vegan-friendly anti-perspirant and sensitive toothpaste in the past, so I am really excited about this! And reasonable prices too.

Superdrug’s own brand toiletries are labelled according to their suitability, so lots of things say “suitable for vegetarians and vegans” on them. It’s so nice to be able to just check the back of things, rather than looking things up online, paying over the odds, or reading lists of insane ingredients and searching for statements about animal testing/ingredients. Just looking for the word VEGAN is magic.

I’ll probably write a bit about each of the products I bought as I use them, but as of yet I’ve only tried this cream:

And it was really nice. A basic, fragrance-free moisturiser, nice and light and not greasy.

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Lovely links

Sometimes recipes can look a bit intimidating – lots of ingredients you’ve never heard of, a lot of shopping to be done and lots of steps before you get to eat some tasty food. Not this blog – check out The Vegan Stoner. Such awesome illustrations and great looking food. And they are working on a cookbook!

I make almond milk quite often but I’ve never made oat milk. I think I’ll try this recipe.

A fellow Oxfordshire vegan is part of this site and they’ve done a really helpful post on baking, and what substitutions you can use where recipes reckon eggs are needed.

Foie gras was banned from a German food fair last week – good to see the cruelty was acknowledged, well done to the animal rights campaigners involved.

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Chocolate cougette muffins

My parents are visiting this weekend and they requested muffins (I said I wanted to bake, and left the choice up to them). They are a bit fan of my carrot cake, so I decided to follow the vegetables in cake theme by making these chocolate courgette muffins. The recipe comes from Happy Herbivore (click here for her post), which means they are also SUPER healthy. Which means you can eat 4 without any guilt at all. Almost fat free, and vegetable filled!

  • Preheat oven to 180 oC
  • 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup soya milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated courgette
  • 1/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips
  • Mix together flour, cocoa, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon
  • Separately, mix together banana, applesauce, milk, sugar, courgette, chocolate chips and vanilla extract
  • Add dry to wet and mix until just incorporated
  • Put into 12 muffin cases
  • Bake for 18-25 mins (until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean)

These were a great success! They were nice and moist and chocolatey, and didn’t taste too healthy or vegetabley!

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Now I know we should all be eating lentils and vegetables all day, with some fruit and seeds in between, but sometimes don’t you just want to walk into a garage or shop and get a cake? Or a biscuit? I do! So I thought I’d start a mission to discover what craptastic convenience foods there are readily available for us awesome vegans.

I got in touch with Mr Kipling (the brand, not the dude himself necessarily), and they got back to me to tell me that the following things are vegan:

Mr Kipling Jam Tarts
Lyons Jam Tarts
Lyons Treacle tart
Mr Kipling Apple and Blackcurrant Pies
Mr Kipling Treacle Tart

So I promptly went and bought some jam tarts. They were good! Jammy, tarty, what else would you expect!?

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Before I was a vegan, I always liked houmous, but I think since last February my relationship with this wonderful stuff has intensified. And last week I discovered a new variety, ooh la la…

Sabra mezze houmous with pine nuts on top. I got this from sainsburys – it was on some kind of offer (40p off, or something like that).

It. Is. Awesome. I’ve never had such SMOOTH houmous in my life! Honestly, I just loved this stuff. It has pine nuts and a bit of olive oil on the top, and a few sneaky hidden whole chickpeas at the bottom. Superb.

Served with Food Doctor multi-seeded pita bread thingys. Lovely.

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Lovely Links

Last year I ran (actually, ‘ran’ may be an overstatement, ‘jogged’ would probably still be overselling it a bit) a 10k, and since then I literally haven’t jogged at all. I always wanted to like running, but just felt like it was a constant struggle. But this article made me think about getting back into it.

I found this really inspiring story about a vegan who has opened her own bakery in Norwich – amazing stuff.

I work in an office. It’s pretty crap, and I really appreciated this post about Corporatitis. And how awesome is the word Corporatitis!?

Badger culling isn’t the way to solve the TB issue…no shit sherlock.

Why we should always eat organic! Watch this video.

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