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Archive for September, 2011

Awesome Vegan Carrot Cake

I’ve made this recipe so many times, I thought it was about time I shared it. It’s gorgeous – dense and tasty, and super easy to make (grating the carrots is the most time consuming bit).

  • Preheat oven to 180 oC

The cake:

  • 3 cups of finely grated carrot
  • 1 and a 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (either juice oranges yourself or buy some nice organic orange juice)
  • 3/4 cup oil (I used rapeseed, but any vegetable oil with a mild flavour is fine)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Mix together the carrot, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon
  2. Add the orange juice and oil
  3. Fold in the raisins and walnuts
  4. Grease a cake tin with a little oil (not needed if like me you use silicon bakeware)
  5. Pour batter into cake tin
  6. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes or until a skewer jabbed in the middle comes out clean

And once the cake is out of the oven and is cooling, you need to make the icing:

  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (I use tofutti)
  • 1/4 cup dairy free margarine (I use pure)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  1. Mix all the ingredients together. Either by hand with a big spoon, or with a food processor / hand-held blender
  2. Once the cake is completely cool, spread the icing all over the top. Make sure the cake is totally cooled (you can put it in the fridge to speed this up), or the icing will melt all over the place! I may or may not have made that mistake before…

Here’s one I made for my friend:

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Yesterday I went to Saf Restaurant in Shoreditch, London with my (omnivorous) friend. We were meeting other friends in the Brick Lane area so when I saw Saf was a reasonable distance from there I definitely wanted to try it! I’ve tried some of their takeaway bits from Wholefods (High Street Kensington) before and really enjoyed them.

Not the best photo!

Saf is completely vegan, and much of the menu is raw; the website says that it “specialises in gourmet plant-based and raw food”. Click here to see the menu. As you’ll see from the menu, this place isn’t cheap! But everything is so fresh and made with such great ingredients, it’s fine for an occasional treat.

They do a range of fresh juices, and I thought about trying a green one (which doesn’t have anything sweet in it) and just wasn’t brave enough. So I went with this:

The "CBK" - fresh pear, carrot, pineapple, ginger, fresh chilli

The juice was really delicious. Next was the starter, which we shared:

Cheese trio - Smoked paprika, olive & pesto cheeses served with tomato jam & raw crackers

I really enjoyed this – the crackers were lovely and crunchy, and the cashew cheeses were full of flavour. It also had interesting touches like a big slice of dehydrated tomato, and a fig in some kind of balsamic vinegar.

For my main course, I decided to go down the raw route…

Zuccini Pappardelle - Strips of zuccini tossed in rustic marinara sauce, caper berries, olives, dehydrated parmesan & arugula salad

Thoroughly enjoyed this – it was so fresh and light, it felt really healthy but I was nicely satisfied at the end of it.

My friend had this:

Rustic Farinata - Slow roasted seasonal vegetables and mushrooms in chickpea crepe topped with a tarragon aioli

I was really glad she did, because I was interested to see a farinata crepe! I’ve made farinata myself but it was really different, and I definitely plan to try this way. And she thoroughly enjoyed her meal, she said she was very impressed.

And as usual, since there was dessert on offer (lots of options too!), I had to have one. And I’m glad I did!

Tiramisu - Layered Saf mascarpone & coffee-walnut savioardi

Oh my, was this good!! Perfect end to a great meal.

To see reviews on Happy Cow, click here

152-154 Curtain Road,

Shoreditch,

London,

EC2A 3AT

Nearest tube station: Old Street

Phone: 020 7613 0007

I would have usually put the opening hours on here, but they appear to be wrong on the website. It reckons they open at 11.30 on a Saturday, and yesterday they didn’t open until 1pm, and that’s what it said on the door of the restaurant.

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One of our lovely neighbours recently popped over and gave me some cooking apples. I’ve been meaning to make crumble for a while so tonight I did just that…

  • Preheat oven to 190 oC
  • 400g cooking apples
  • 30g raisins
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 35g oats
  • 35g wholemeal flour
  • 35g margarine (I used pure)
  • 20g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  1. Peel and core the apples, and cut into small chunks (about an inch square)
  2. Put the apples in a pan with the water, raisins and 50g sugar, and cook on a low heat for about 5-10 minutes, and then put into a small oven dish
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the oats and flour
  4. Add the margarine and mix with fingertips until you have a crumb-like texture
  5. Mix in the sugar, spice and seeds
  6. Cover the fruit with the crumble mixture
  7. Bake for around 20-25 mins, until nicely browning on top

This is what mine looked like after it had been in the oven:

I ate some crumble with custard. Did you know Bird’s custard powder is vegan? True story!


The crumble was really nice – the seeds gave it lots of texture and interesting flavours, and the warm apple was delicious. I’m rather pleased with myself! Think I’ll be repeating this recipe as the weather gets colder.

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Energy Bars

I felt like doing some baking today, to make breakfast/snacks for this week. I found this recipe which I adapted a little bit, the main change is that I didn’t put chocolate chips in – I wanted to put something a bit healthier in, since they might be eaten at breakfast time.

Here’s the recipe (adapted slightly from Peas and Thank You – Vegan Energy Bars)

  • Preheat oven to 190 oC
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds (linseeds), ground (I use a coffee grinder for this – you end up with over 2 tbsp of ground flax which is fine, use it all)
  • 1/4 cup of water, plus 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup of wholemeal flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  1. Mix ground flax and water together and put to one side
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a big bowl (oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, raisins, nuts)
  3. Separately, mix together maple syrup and almond butter until smooth
  4. Add flax mixture to maple syrup and almond butter mixture, mix until smooth (when I did this, it was like glue because of the flax! I’ve used flax before but never known it to go so egg-like, it was weird!)
  5. Mix wet into dry, until fully mixed (this was bloody hard work! But stick with it, you’ll get there in the end!)
  6. Press mixture into a baking tin
  7. Bake for 15 mins
  8. Allow to cool before cutting into bars

These are really good – they are quite dense, really wholesome and healthy. I think it was a good call not putting chocolate in them – they definitely qualify as a breakfast snack, because they aren’t too sweet.

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I hope the title isn’t misleading. I’m not about to do a 30-day vegan challenge, after all, I am a vegan. No challenge needed! But recently I bought this book, and wanted to write a little bit about it:

The author, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is also the author of a number of vegan cookbooks (click here to see what else she’s written). She is also the founder of the Compassionate Cooks website.

I had read a few reviews about how great The 30-day Vegan Challenge was, and so decided to get a copy myself. And I’m so glad I did! It’s one of the best books on veganism I’ve read, and I wish it had been around when I’d first started out on my vegan journey. When I became vegan, I used online resources to find out the answers to my questions, but most of the answers are in this book. Things such as how to phrase what you eat when in a restaurant, how to respond to people’s criticism or jokes, and idea for meals.

The book includes a mixture of recipes and really useful information, including chapters on things like:

  • Iron, B12, calcium, protein etc (a section on each)
  • Stocking your cupboards
  • Packed lunch ideas (loved this section – I’m rubbish at thinking of things to take to work)
  • Different types of non-dairy milks
  • Life without cheese (personally this wasn’t an issue but I know it’s a big deal to some!)
  • Tofu (what is it, what to do with it)
  • Eating out (including, as mentioned, what to say to staff, and also what to look out for and what different cuisines have to offer)
  • Social situations (and eating “confidently and joyfully” within them)

…and much more. It doesn’t just talk about food, there’s a section about fashion, and the rationale behind vegan choices is throughout (i.e. it’s not just about diet, it talks about the cruelty and suffering involved in an omnivorous diet).

This book is wonderful, and I’d recommend it to anyone thinking about going vegan, and to anyone who already is. It’s full of photos and useful information, and it is written in a friendly and helpful style.

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Infinity Foods Shop

As I mentioned before, Infinity Foods in Brighton have both a cafe and a food shop – both vegetarian. I thoroughly enjoyed my food at the cafe, and the following day I went to the shop.

It’s pretty sizable and has toiletries, general groceries, fresh fruit and veg, and an in-store bakery.

Since this shop is vegetarian, it had a vast range of vegan items but still involved studying quite a few ingredients lists. I’m not going to lie – I was occasionally a little disappointed to find items were vegetarian rather than vegan (things like biscuits with egg in, or cereal containing honey), but overall it was great. I’m not about to complain about this place, it’s wonderful that it exists! I guess I have been a little spoilt by Unicorn in Manchester (which is 100% vegan).

I especially liked the chilled section – there was a huge choice of vegan yogurts, “cheese” , fresh pasta, and things like tempeh and tofu.

Here’s some of the stuff I came away with – moo free chocolate, almond milk desserts, sweet freedom sweetener (as recommended by peasoupeats), amaranth, gluten free pastas, tempeh rashers, coconut oil, and olive spread. I also got a massive vegan scone from the bakery section (it was full of raisins, really nice), some fresh pastas and a gigantic bag of kale.

I’m definitely going back to this place next time we’re in Brighton!

Phone: 01273 603563

25 North Road
Brighton
East Sussex
BN1 1YA

Opening hours:

Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 6pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm

   
   

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Goody Good Stuff

I won some sweets! Hooray for blog giveaways, and thankyou to Hef’s Kitchen for my stash 🙂

Goody Good Stuff make vegetarian and vegan sweets in the UK and I was lucky enough to receive a hamper of the vegan varieties through Heather’s blog. They even arrived in a basket, with a ribbon on the top – now that is a hamper!

I’ve now tried them all (of course), and my favourites are the sour mix and match and the cola bottles – I was always a fan of fizzy/sour sweets so it’s nice to have found vegan versions of them! And they have a great chewable texture – by that I mean they don’t just bounce around your mouth like I seem to remember things like jelly teddy bears doing!

They are pretty widely available, and I’ve seen them in places like Holland and Barrett.

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