A very Happy New Year!
Wishing you all peace, happiness and a wonderful gardening year!
A very Happy New Year!
Wishing you all peace, happiness and a wonderful gardening year!
After a rather busy start to the week I spent Tuesday lamenting the demise of the garden after our first frost of the year. But today I am celebrating…
Why? Well, the first day of November is not normally a reason for celebration in our part of the world. In Germany, for example, it is a national holiday where people commemorate those who have died and visit their family graves. And for gardeners here November is a dreary month too, with the dreaded onset of frosty weather and the approach of winter.
And yet for me today stands out in the calendar as it is World Vegan Day! According to figures from the German Nutrition Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung) there are now over 800,000 vegans in Germany, and research in Britain claims almost 550,000 people in the UK are vegan too. Now that is a very good excuse to celebrate so I have baked a fabulous vegan cake to share with you!
After trying so many recipes for a basic sponge cake, I was over the moon when I finally found the perfect one on the Vegan Recipe Club website, which is the recipe reservoir put together by Viva!, the British group promoting animal rights and a vegan diet.
Here is the link to the original lemony recipe: Our Favourite Sponge Cake
And here is my vanilla version…
The Best Vegan Sponge Cake Ever
For the sponge you will need:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F, grease and flour two 20cm/8 inch cake tins.
2. Melt the butter then add the sugar. Mix in well till the sugar has partially dissolved. Set aside.
3. Sieve the flour, baking powder, soda and salt into a bowl. Rub in the vanilla bean with your finger tips. Add the butter/sugar mixture, yoghurt, flax egg and vanilla essence. Gently fold in until you get a soft dropping consistency and the flour is incorporated. If it isn’t soft enough, add a splash of non-dairy milk.
4. Spoon the cake mix into the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until risen and golden. Test by inserting a sharp knife or toothpick into the centre of each cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. If not, return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely before removing them from their tins. Carefully place them upside down on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
5. For the filling, spread jam of your choice on one of the cakes. (You can also spread buttercream on the other cake – see recipe below*) Put the cakes together like a sandwich. Sprinkle a little icing sugar on the top and decorate as you like.
* For the buttercream filling: Mix 125g sieved icing sugar, 75g vegan butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and a tiny splash of non-dairy milk until creamy.
I do hope you will try this vegan recipe. If you would like more inspiration, there are others on my recipe page (see above), all vegetarian and many vegan!
Happy Baking! 😉
Yes, it IS possible to make delicious vegan brownies without eggs and butter!
As promised, here is the recipe in my November ‘World Vegan Month’ series, and it is in fact relatively healthy compared to most other brownie recipes I have tried… relatively. 😉
The twist to these particular brownies is the amarena cherries I used – the sort that come in syrup in a small jar. They are incredibly sweet and have a lovely slightly almondy flavour. If you can’t find them, try using an alternative syrup and ordinary tinned cherries.
(in a heart-shaped tin, just because! 😉
Grease and flour a 15 x 15 cm (6 x 6 inch) baking tin (or a heart-shaped one 😉 )
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350° F.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir the syrup, oil and water together and mix in, whisking lightly with a fork. Fold in the melted chocolate. Pour into the baking tin and spread evenly. Scatter the cherries on the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Leave in the tin until completely cool, then turn out, sprinkle with a little icing sugar if you like, and slice. Serves 8.
Delicious with vegan whipped cream! 😉
(I dare you to resist!) 😉
Here is another recipe for World Vegan month 2016, and one I mentioned that I would post not long ago… Butternut ‘Steaks’. 😀
At this time of year it is easy to find pumpkins of any kind, and I like to make the most of them while they are in season. Since my Man of Many Talents is not so keen on the sweet flavour in savoury dishes, except for soup anyway, I make these butternut steaks just for myself. And the beauty is, you can slice as much as you need off the ‘neck’ of a butternut and save the rest of the squash for another day.
So, take a butternut squash and cut some 1-2 cm thick slices from the long end (not the end where the seeds are), then peel with a potato peeler. Place on a baking sheet, lined with greaseproof paper.
Preheat your oven to 225°C/ 425°F.
Mix 1tbsp olive oil with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and spread over the slices of squash. Season with freshly ground black pepper and, if you like, a sprinkle of ground ginger for some added heat. I also sometimes use ground dried garlic or coriander, or add a sprig of rosemary or two.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Depending how thick your slices are, they may need another few minutes, but try not to let them get too brown. You can test one with a sharp knife to see if it is tender.
They can be served with just about anything, or even eaten on their own as a snack!
So simple and so tasty!
What’s your favourite pumpkin/squash dish? I bet a lot of you are going to say ‘pie’ , and I hope to post a vegan recipe for that too soon. Stay tuned! 😉
I wonder if you have heard of World Vegan Day before? It was introduced on November 1st 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UK Vegan Society. I have only known about it for a few years, and feel it deserves a bit more publicity, so I would like to celebrate not only this day, but the whole month of November – also designated by the Vegan Society as World Vegan Month – by sharing some of my favourite vegan recipes. Some are new, and some are veganized versions of older recipes that I have refined over the past year. I should love to convince you all to become vegan! But since that is totally unrealistic I hope to tempt you with a few vegan delights instead! 😉
So to kick off, a recipe I have actually had in my drafts box for some time:
I make these delicious fluffy chickpea patties regularly, and especially love them for being so incredibly quick to prepare.
Falafel are traditionally made using chickpeas, but I use the ground chickpea flour here, also known as gram flour, and this makes preparation much faster with less washing up. 😉 The result is also lighter than ones I have made with whole chickpeas. So go and find some chickpea flour (and a packet of pita breads while you are at the shops) and try these out!
Mix all the ingredients together with a fork in a large bowl, and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Depending on your brand of flour you may need a little more water or a little more flour to make a porridge-like consistency, but keep it on the soft side.
Heat some olive or rapeseed oil in a large frying pan and add spoonfuls of the mixture. They will quickly brown so you can turn them. Keep turning until brown and crispy on all sides, then remove and keep warm while you do the next batch. (Don’t keep them in the pan too long as they will turn out overcooked and dry.)
Serve in warmed pita breads with lots of salad and tsatsiki (vegan sour cream, garlic and finely chopped cucumber).
P.S. By the way, I have updated my recipe page (see top bar), with all vegan recipes highlighted in dark green.
And for those of you with a sweet tooth, I will be posting a sweet recipe at the end of the week.
Have a good start to the month of November! 😉
I wanted to find something spooky this week for a Halloween vase, as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme…
No, not spooky enough. Let’s have another try…
Aah, now that’s better! The seed heads of the Clematis tangutica are just like little spiders…
or a bit ghostly, like the hair of a very very VERY old person…
And with some slightly creepy seed heads of Anemone japonica, the almost black Crocosmia and Echinacea, and the bright orange Physalis alkekengi I hope I managed to capture the ‘spirit’ of the season!
The pumpkin was a present from a friend, and the butternut will be made into butternut ‘steaks’ this week (I will post a recipe soon!). Last week I called my fern ‘toffee’ coloured, but I think ‘butternut’ is probably an even closer description.
Other ingredients to my vase were some orangey pink Epimedium foliage and a Sedum flower. Did you know Sedums were also renamed? (Actually some time ago but I was slow to catch on!) And of course the new name is much longer and more difficult to pronounce… ‘hylotelephium’. And at the front is the reddish pink seed head of the Ricinus communis that I had to cut down this week – the cold and damp had got to it, but it had lasted so well.
I won’t be celebrating Halloween myself, but for all of you who are…
Have a wonderful spooky Halloween!
😀 😀 😀
Tomorrow is Pancake Day in the UK, and although the tradition of eating thin crepe-style pancakes on Shrove Tuesday does not seem to exist anywhere else in the world I have always made them wherever I have been – even when I lived in Japan I had a pancake party!
The traditional topping for these pancakes is lemon juice and sugar. Yes, there are plenty of other things you can put on your pancake, but not on Pancake Day. You can have maple syrup, nutella, bananas, etc any time of year. But tomorrow it’s simply lemon juice and sugar; the inspiration for the title for my vase this week…
Every Monday I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with her lovely meme where we are asked to find something from our garden and bring it indoors. Two days ago my first golden (lemony) crocus opened (Yippee!), so I knew I would have to bring some indoors.
The tiniest ‘vase’ I could find was a miniature salt sellar, and since I had two I decided to pick a few (sugary) snowdrops too, which also immediately opened once brought into the warm house. There are only a few – most are still too small to pick.
But these are not the only flowers I have this week. About three weeks ago I cut some Ribes sanguineum, remembering that when it is forced the normally deep pinky red flowers are white. In the course of the last week they have opened…
And another Amaryllis opened two days ago too – Amaryllis ‘Blossom Peacock’. A real beauty with a lovely straight stem.
I shall do a round-up of all my Amaryllis/Hippeastrums once they have all flowered. So far I have had one or two flowering constantly since November. 🙂
Until Friday it had rained practically all week, so having flowers indoors is very cheering. I am looking forward to seeing a few more of my spring bulbs emerge this week, but first I am looking forward to my pancakes tomorrow. What will you have on yours? Sugar and lemon juice?