Sunday, 30 August 2009

Happy Accidents! Baked Tatties!

A while ago I started making Jelly Donut Cupcakes from Vegaomicon... then realised as I'd started putting the ingredients together that I was out of vanilla extract! I ran to my local branch of Spar just across the road to remedy this, but they were also out of vanilla!
I wondered how I could adjust the recipe and decided to try flavouring my cupcakes using almond extract instead of the vanilla, and just omitted using the nutmeg- and it worked beautifully, giving my cupcakes a lovely combination of jam and almond sponge flavours reminescent of a bakewell tart.
Now, whenever I make these cupcakes, I follow my own almond variation, which I actually prefer to the original. I'm quite glad now that I ran out of vanilla that day!
Next time I make these, I think I'll try sprinkling some chopped almonds on top too...
There's a Lurpak butter ad showing on TV just now where they insist baked potatoes are best baked in the oven, and not in the microwave. To some extent I agree with this as I don't like microwaved tatties either, but I start mine in the microwave for 5-10 mins depending how many tatties I have to bake, then finish them off in the oven for about 30-40 minutes to speed up the process, yet still get that lovely crispy, baked jacket effect.
I refuse to put Lurpak on my tatties however, as it's definitely not vegan!
We had these with a coleslaw homemade with Mayola vegan mayo(sorry, we were too busy eating and I forgot to take another photo!), but there are also vegan alternatives to butter such as Pure or Vitalite that can be used.

I've made 3 posts in this week alone since I've been on holiday, but as I'm back to boring work tomorrow and out the house for about 11 hours a day, sadly they'll be less frequent again as all work and no play makes for a slow blog! :(

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Visit to Wagamama's, and making cupcakes at my mama's house!

This photo of me (sorry if anyone finds the image disturbing!) was taken at Wagamama's restaurant in Glasgow, where I was trying to eat some very tasty vegan Saien Soba with chopsticks and a wooden ladle-thingybob.

Although they are an Omni restaurant, Wagamama's cater for vegans as well as other dietary requirements, and even though many items aren't vegan on the menu, you can ask the staff and they will suggest how they can adjust things for you- Jay and I both had Saien Soba soup(which the menu describes as "whole wheat noodles in a vegetable soup topped with fried tofu, beansprouts, courgettes, asparagus, red onion, leeks, mushrooms, mangetout and garlic. garnished with spring onion") without the soba noodles as they contain egg, and had Udon noodles in it instead.

Our meal was delicious and we'd both definitely go back there. We were especially impressed with their deep fried tofu. Here's a shot of Jay getting to grips with some chopsticks...

This little bottle contains coffee flavoured balsamic vinegar, which may sound like an odd combination but it tastes great! I got it in Oil and Vinegar, where they sell many other kinds of weird and wonderful flavours of these such as chocolate or strawberry flavour balsamic vinegars as well. I tried a few of the tasters but I liked the coffee one best.

This is an experimental Triple Chocolate Cupcake which I made a batch of at my family's house while I was visiting a few days ago and my wee brother asked me to give him a hand making cakes. Alas, there was no vegan marge, soya milk nor baking soda, but there was plenty vegan chocolate so we managed to come up with this recipe, which worked rather well!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

(makes 12 )

200g flour
100g sugar
2tsp baking powder

4 tbsp cocoa

4 tbsp veg oil
200ml water
2tsp vanilla essence

50g vegan chocolate, broken into small chunks(alternatively use chocolate chips)

100g vegan chocolate(melted to ice- optional)

-preheat oven to 180C, arrange cupcake cases
-sift dry ingredients together
-stir in wet ingredients then add chocolate chips
-spoon into cupcake cases, bake for 25-30 mins, then leave to cool

-ice if desired by melting more chocolate and drizzling over the top of your cooled cupcakes. Leave to cool until the chocolate cools and hardens, then enjoy!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

More from my new toy!

Tasty homemade hummus, based on the recipe in Dino Sarma's Alternative Vegan, with some whole chickpeas on top for garnish. (I got the garnish idea from a ready-made moroccan style spicy hummus that I buy from Sainsbury's, but my chickpeas were a little bland so I don't recommend doing that unless your hummus is spicier- we enjoyed the hummus it underneath though!) Jay says it is on a par with shop-bought hummus- high praise indeed! :)

Tasty vanilla cupcakes (Golden Vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World) iced with my own experimental recipe of...

Extra creamy icing

2 tbsp vitalite,
2 tsp alpro soya cream,
1/2 a cup of vanilla essence
2 cups of icing sugar.

-combine the above ingredients, then ice cupcakes.
This tasty drink was a tropical smoothie, with frozen mango, papaya, pineapple and banana, with orange juice. The frozen fruit was bought ready to blend in a bag from Morrisons(see photo below, right) which I'd never heard of before but spotted while looking for frozen blueberries and was only £1-69 for a 500g bag- cheaper than fresh! And it's less prep work, plus being frozen as well as lasting longer it made the smoothie lovely and cool without needing any ice or refridgeration. I'd definitely buy this again. 5/5

Sunday, 16 August 2009

My New Toy! (Cheers Norma! :))

When my friend Norma got one of the legendary(amongst vegan bloggers!) Vitamix food processors, she very kindly gave me her Breville food processor- and while it may not sing, dance and heat up soup, it does make a nice smoothie!(see above pic) This is the first thing I've done on it, and there are more posts of processed food coming soon!

This here smoothie has plums, nectarines and orange juice(see below). For more interesting smoothie combos check out Penny's Smoothie Of The Day at the bottom of every post on her Scottish Vegan Homemaker blog.