Festive Mincemeat Galette


How in the heck is it the 1st of December already? Whilst part of me is jumping for ‘Christmas-is-coming’ joy, the other half is screaming ‘stop, the year can’t be over just yet’! Yes, I love Christmas but really it’s the build-up I adore more than anything … I mostly find the day itself a bit of a let-down. There’s always so many people to see and it’s usually a little tension-filled (lest it be anything less than perfect) which is probably why I eek out every last drop of Christmas Eve. Granted, the pressure I feel is mostly self-inflicted although I’ve been working on my Christmas Day zen mode the last couple of years. Can’t say I’ve been entirely successful just yet but at least I’m trying, right?


As always, I seek solace in the kitchen. I’ve already made some rather wonky looking star cookies (that’ll teach me to shove my baking equipment in a box) and as I type my Husband is making me a snowflake cutter on his fancy 3d machine thingy – exciting! Today though, I really fancied a dessert. More specifically, I was in the mood for mincemeat. Oh, lordy, do I love mincemeat. Not only have I necked about a dozen pies since they appeared on the supermarket shelves (in .. er, early November) but now I’m toying with a handful of recipes that utilize this most British of festive fillings. Sure, I could make it from scratch but why bother when most shop bought versions are vegan anyway – in case you’re wondering, I bought this one in the Co-op and it was spot on. Mincemeat Galette a go-go.


what you’ll need


for the pastry

80g spelt flour

40g plain white flour

50g icing sugar

pinch of salt

50g chilled coconut butter or marg

1 tbsp water


for the filling

400g mincemeat


to garnish

toasted flaked almonds

icing sugar


what you’ll do


sieve the flours, icing sugar and salt into a bowl. work the coconut butter into the flour mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. add the water and work it into a dough ball using your hands. wrap in cling film and chill for around 30mins – 1 hr.


pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.


flour a clean surface and carefully roll out the pastry into an oval shape. transfer to a lined baking sheet.


spoon the mincemeat into the centre of the pastry, leaving a generous amount of pastry around the edge. roughly crease the edges around the filling and bake for 30 minutes.


serve hot or cold with soya cream.


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Carrot & Sage Slice

This time last year Vegetarian Living Mag published this ‘Carrot & Sage Slice’ recipe I developed for their December issue … a simple ‘meat-free’ main that is (in my humble opinion, ahem) the perfect centre-piece to any Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Ta-da! And yes, I realise Thanksgiving isn’t exactly a UK tradition but since our stint in the States we’ve made a point of celebrating it – always with a huge spread and usually a few invited guests, so it’s definitely an established holiday for us now. I think we’ve won most of our non-American friends over too, I’m pleased to say … even the ones who had never seen ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’. Say wha?!


It’s unfortunate though that we (that’s the all-encompassing British/Irish ‘we’) seem to have latched onto the whole ‘Black-Friday’ thing (I know, last pay-day before Christmas and all that) and yet completely surpassed the whole point of Thanksgiving itself, which, in my eyes, is decidedly less commercial than Christmas … and probably why I love it. However, being a die-hard bargain-hunter at heart you’d think the Black Friday sales would be right up my street when in actual fact they fill me with utter dread – much like the January sales, which are closely akin to the seventh level of hell. Look, I love a bit of retail-therapy as much as the next person but don’t you think it’s all gotten a bit out of hand? With YouTube flooded with ‘haul’ videos, Twitter being almost like a never-ending ad-reel, and everyone’s desire to seemingly want ‘more, more, more’ it kind of takes the shine out of shopping for me – in fact, it more often than not makes me feel a wee bit dirty … as if I’m contributing to everything that is wrong with the world.


I know how lucky I am. I have a wonderful Husband and family. A beautiful home (albeit it rented) filled with plenty of ‘stuff’, and yet none of that really matters if you don’t have perspective on what is truly important. Sure, there are always going to be things I ‘want’ but does that mean I should have them? I’m not so sure it’s healthy to have everything you covet, and I’m also not so sure the subliminal messages we receive daily (whether it’s on YouTube, Instagram or any other social media outlet) to essentially buy to your hearts content are healthy either. It’s relentless – and, for the record, doesn’t make us happy. Whenever I get these overwhelming urges to purchase something frivolous I remind myself of that story I read as a child …  ‘What Wanda Wanted’ – er, anyone else remember those Christmas Storyteller magazines? Ah, memories. Anyway, suffice to say, anytime I had a tantrum after not getting ‘what I wanted’ my Mum would say ‘What Wanda wants, Wanda must have’! Even now, those words feel me with dread.


Now, I know this all feels a bit ‘party-pooper’, and it’s not that I’m saying we shouldn’t treat ourselves now and then but perhaps the extremity of our consumption needs taming – mine included. I’m desperately trying to pare down my lifestyle (easier said than done) and rid myself of all the things that regularly weigh me down. It always feels so great when I do a massive clear-out and donate all those bits to charity. It’s like starting afresh every time. And then as quick as you can say ‘Black-Friday Sale’ the house seems to fill up with crap again. Ugh. So yeah, it’s definitely a work in progress. What are your thoughts on our collective consumerist tendencies?


Oh, and before I forget why I actually came on here … Happy Thanksgiving ya filthy animals! Wait. Wrong holiday.

What you’ll need


For the Loaf

4 Shallots, finely chopped

2 Large Parsnips, finely diced

100g Breadcrumbs, pref. stale

4 Large Carrots, grated

25g Sage, finely chopped

25g Rosemary, finely chopped

3 Sprigs of Thyme

30g Flat Leaf Parsley, roughly chopped

1 tbsp Cider Vinegar

2-3 tbsp olive oil

Salt & Pepper


For the Caramelised Carrots

16-20 Baby Carrots

3 tbsp Agave, Maple Syrup or other Sweetener

2 tbsp good quality Olive Oil

3 Sprigs Rosemary, finely chopped

Several Sprigs of Thyme

Salt & Pepper


For the Redcurrant Glaze

120ml Redcurrant Jelly

3 Tbsp Sugar

1 tbsp Balsamic or Red Wine Vinegar

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 Star Anise


What you’ll do

Heat the olive oil in a large pan or skillet. Add the shallots and gently fry for several minutes before adding the parsnip. Season, cover and sweat for a few minutes until the parsnip begins to soften. Next, add the finely chopped sage, rosemary and thyme leaves, stir to combine and allow the flavours to infuse for a few minutes more.


Add the breadcrumbs to the pan, season generously, cover and let the crumbs absorb the flavours in the pan for 5 or so minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking.


Squeeze out all excess juice from the grated carrot – it is crucial the carrot is as dry as possible. Add to the pan along with the cider vinegar. Season and stir to combine. Cover and allow the carrot to reduce. Cook for around 10 minutes more or until the mixture is fairly dry but holds its shape when pressed.


Grease a small loaf tin and transfer the mixture to the tin. Press firmly with the back of a spoon and cover tightly with foil, ensuring the foil touches the slice. Allow the mixture to cool before transferring to the fridge where it will chill overnight – you will achieve a firmer slice this way. If using immediately then pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius and bake covered for 45 minutes and uncovered for a further 30mins. Remove from oven and allow it to cool slightly before gently turning out onto a serving platter.


In a separate baking dish, toss the baby carrots with the oil, agave, seasoning and herbs. Cover and bake for 1hr 15minutes at 200 degrees celsius, giving it a shake once in a while to prevent sticking. For ease, you can cook the slice and carrots at the same time. Once cooked, arrange the carrots on top of the slice.


Place all the redcurrant glaze ingredients into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer for around 10 minutes. Let it cool slightly before spooning/brushing over the slice.


Can be served immediately but is equally good the next day.


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Carrot & Cumin Cuppa Soup

The weekend is fast approaching and I have a terrific few days ahead of me beginning with an entire day of film at the Cornwall Film Festival tomorrow (my idea of bliss) quickly followed by a much anticipated break in Bath. The most I’ve ever seen of this place is from the train window as it whizzes past on its way to London but even those snatched glances were enough to peak my curiosity. So, when we decided a stay-cation was in order, this gloriously historical spot was top of my to-do list.


We’ve booked a stunning airbnb in one of those grand looking Georgian terraces and I’ve already discovered that Bath is a bit of a hub for vegan food, which has only added to my childlike excitement – that, and the fact there’s apparently an Anthropologie store nearby, eek! I certainly don’t have pots of money at the moment but I figure I’ll have even less in December so what the hell … my Christmas shopping shall start here. Really though, this break is mainly about a change of scenery and a chance to properly unwind – something we haven’t been able to do in quite a while. It might sound strange (ungrateful perhaps?) but even though I do happen to live somewhere most people escape to, it’s nice to shake things up and experience something new … and truthfully all this endless tranquility can occasionally send me doolally. Right now I’m in the mood to be surrounded by people. And shops. And coffee. And restaurants. And wine. And more people. Okay, I just need to not be here for a bit.


Because we won’t be home until next week, I’ve been desperately trying to use up all the odds and ends in my fridge that won’t keep. I’d been craving comfort food anyway so this soup was an obvious choice given the bag of sad looking carrots in my veg drawer … yes, it’s just a silly old soup but by golly did it hit the spot. Lightly spiced (cumin and coriander, bam!) with an added bit of depth courtesy of some coconut cream, this is perfect ‘curl up on the sofa’ fodder – and what better way to consume this warming golden liquor than in a cup. No spoon necessary. Get sipping.

what you’ll need

1 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot

1 celery stick

6 medium carrots

2 salad potatoes

1 heaped tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/2 vegetable stock cube

2 tbsp coconut cream

salt and pepper


what you’ll do

heat the oil in a saucepan. finely mince the shallot and celery and add to pan. season and sweat for several minutes until they soften and become transparent.


peel and slice the carrots into very thin rounds. roughly chop the potatoes and add both to the pan. stir, season and let the veg cook over a medium heat for a minute or two before adding the cumin and coriander. stir to coat and let the spices infuse for a further 5mins before crumbling in the stock cube and covering with around 500ml of water (just enough to cover the veg).


simmer gently for 15 minutes until the carrots are soft before transferring to a blender. blend until smooth before returning the puree to a pan – now you can add a little more water to thin out the soup to your taste. add the coconut cream and gently heat for a minute or so. check for seasoning and serve.


garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle of zatar and ground cumin, as well as a few scattered chilli flakes.


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Pudla Pizza

Sometimes I don’t know where to begin a post – particularly if I haven’t blogged in a while. Y’see, occasionally I need a bit of a time-out … mostly, and for some inexplicable reason, these ‘time-outs’ seem to always chose their own time, rather than the other way around. I guess it mostly depends on my mood, and I’ve got to be brutally honest here, but my mood has been somewhat all over the joint these last few weeks. Feelings of guilt for not being with my family at a time when they need me most torment me a lot, and occasionally render me useless. Unfortunately my Husband is the one who has to deal with these emotional meltdowns, which I know can be tiresome and wearing – especially when coupled with a crazy workload. Bad wife.


And even though there’s so much great stuff happening, hanging (or should that be clinging for dear life) onto the good stuff can still be difficult. I try to relish these moments but we humans are strange bunch – no matter how much we seemingly have, we always want more. I’m totally working on this flaw, by the way, but it ain’t easy.


In the meantime, there’s always pudla. There’s a similar recipe in my book ‘Keep it Vegan’ but this is a new and equally yummy version … the batter is much thinner and technically speaking, it’s probably more of a socca than the former. Fried until crisp and then whacked under a grill, it renders the perfect base to make a pizza – of sorts. Truthfully, I couldn’t be bothered to get into making a full-on sauce so all the toppings are raw – carrot ribbons, roughly chopped tomato, diced avocado, rocket and a whole other array of tidbits that make up this moreish dish. Whilst it makes for a perfect lunch option (you could totally eat it cold at work), I think it would be nice served as a ‘nibble’ at a dinner party – just make sure to quarter them for ease of eating. Plus, they are so wonderfully vibrant, they’re sure to be a little talking point – and a certain mood lifter … just what I happen to be in the market for, ahem. What else can I say – the time to up your pudla game is now!


what you’ll need

80g gram (chickpea) flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp paprika

pinch of cayenne

juice of 1/2 lemon

100ml water

30ml extra virgin olive

2 tbsp olive oil


pizza toppings

1 x carrot

2 cherry tomatoes

1/2 avocado

large handful of rocket

3 tbsp hummus

juice 1/2 lemon or lime

pinch of chilli flakes


nutritional yeast


what you’ll do

sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices into a bowl. whisk in the water and lemon juice before drizzling in the extra virgin olive oil until you achieve a silky smooth batter. cover and set aside for at least 1hr.


meanwhile, prep your toppings – cut the carrots into ribbons, roughly chop the tomatoes and season generously. dice the avocado, squeeze with a little lemon juice to avoid browning. toss the rocket with some evoo and balsamic vinegar and make the hummus sauce by stirring in the juice of 1/2 lemon until smooth.


pre-heat the grill. heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and ladle in half the batter, spreading to edges with the back of the spoon. cook until the edges begin to curve in and the bottom is perfectly golden (I use a palette knife to lift up the sides and peek) before finishing it off under the grill.


layer up the topping, starting with the rocket and followed by the carrots, tomatoes and avocado. dollop over the hummus sauce and finish with a smidge of sriracha, smattering of nutritional yeast and a few chilli flakes. lightly season and serve.


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Barmbrack Bundt


{singing} ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeeeaaaaaarrr’ … or spookiest, or something. Anyway, long story short, I am a Halloween fruitcake – which, is just as well, seeing as I made one to celebrate. Getting back to my Irish roots I opted for a spiced Barmbrack of sorts – this is my version and it’s half way between a bread and cake. The bundt tin wasn’t just a frivolous decision either. It’s actually a bit of a nod to the ‘ring’ that is usually secreted inside the bread. I’m not a big fan of putting choke-inducing items in my food (even if they are wrapped in baking parchment) so the ring shape will have to suffice.


If you didn’t already know most of those awesome Halloweeny traditions we love so much originated in Eire – yup, even pumpkin carving, although we apparently used gourds/turnips back in the day. The celts seem to share a lot of the same folklore, which probably goes some way to explain why I feel so at home here in Cornwall … they too were a fan of the old turnip head around this time of year. Also, if you think America has the monopoly on Halloween, my home-town of Derry topped a recent USA Today poll for ‘Best Halloween Destination’ ahead of Salem and Transylvania no less – I actually feel pretty lucky to have grown up in a place with such a rich Halloween heritage and have so many fond memories of dressing-up and trick or treating as a kid. Side note; if you want to be truly terrified google ‘Irish Jack-o’-lantern’ – not for the faint hearted but would definitely have done a great job warding off those evil spirits. Me? I’ll be sticking to my usual goofy face.


Back to the Barmbrack. Typically a yeasted bread, I honestly couldn’t be bothered to faff about with kneading yesterday – I was still exhausted from my trip back to Cornwall, and needed something to ease me back into the kitchen. I did, however, opt for a spelt/strong white flour mix, which resulted in a wonderfully bready texture … perfect for slathering in dairy-free butter and serving alongside a hot cuppa. I soaked the raisins in cold tea leftover from breakfast (yes, I do use a teapot – such is my tea addiction) and once drained I poured the reserved liquid into my bread batter for extra oomph. It might not be the most authentic barmbrack in the world but by golly does it taste good. In fact, I’m going to treat myself to another slice, right … about … now.


what you’ll need

130g raisins

100ml cold black tea

250g spelt flour

200g strong white flour

100g plus 1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger, allspice and nutmeg

250ml almond milk

3 tbsp vegan margarine

1 tsp molasses


for the glaze

3 tbsp light brown sugar

 1 tbsp water


what you’ll do

place the raisins in a bowl and pour over the cold tea. set aside to soak for about an hour. drain and reserve the cold tea liquid.


pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.


sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl.


gently heat the almond milk, margarine, molasses and 1 tbsp of light brown sugar in a milk-pan. once the margarine has melted, whisk the mixture until frothy and combined.


make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in the warm almond milk mixture along with the reserved tea. fold gently until combined before stirring through the soaked raisins.


transfer the batter to a greased bundt tin and bake for 45-50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. let the bread cool slighty before gently tipping out onto a cooling rack.


whilst it cools, make the glaze by placing the sugar and water into a small saucepan. simmer until it reduces before brushing over the warm bread. let the bread cool completely before slicing. serve with a generous smear of vegan butter and a hot cup of tea.


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Creamy Aubergine Dip


I’m currently visiting the folks in Ireland and because everything leading up to this trip was borderline chaos I’m only just finding the time to blog. I know! Excuses, excuses. Anyway, I hope this ‘Aubergine Dip’ (mutabal, baba ganoush, whatever you wish to call it) will in some way make up for my absence – it’s from my book (yep, that one on the sidebar, nudge nudge, wink wink) and is a recipe I rely on more than I care to admit … it makes for a particularly good alternative to hummus. I’ve served it to reluctant guests at dinner parties (I would advise not mentioning it’s made from aubergines prior to sampling) but is an equally good solitary indulgence option – a bowl of this and some toasted pitta makes me a very happy girl.


There is a little intro in the book where I explain my aversion to ‘smoking’ them the long-winded way – namely hovering over a flame … side note; I currently don’t possess a gas hob so this would be an impossibility anyway. Instead, I prefer to pop them in the oven until they are soft and unctuous before scooping out the flesh and mashing thoroughly by hand. Please don’t be tempted to use a food processor, as you will lose all that wondrous texture, which is a crucial part of the consuming pleasure, in my opinion.


Yes, it’s a just a dip but that doesn’t mean I won’t wax lyrical about it. Whether its part of a mezze or simply on its own, this is a humble bowl of greatness that I just can’t get bored of. Hope you enjoy it too!


what you’ll need

oil, for greasing

2 aubergines

1 garlic clove

½ teaspoon sea salt

30ml extra virgin olive oil, plus

extra for drizzling

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

50g tahini

30g fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly

chopped, plus extra to garnish

salt and freshly ground

black pepper

toasted sesame seeds, to garnish


what you’ll do

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark 4. Oil a baking sheet.


Slice the aubergines lengthways and place them on the baking sheet. Bake

for 30–40 minutes until the flesh is soft, turning them over halfway through.


Cover and cool completely before scooping out the flesh. Chop thoroughly

with a knife and then mash with a fork, ensuring there are no lumps.


Pound the garlic and sea salt together using a pestle and mortar.

Place the aubergine flesh in a bowl along with the crushed garlic, extra

virgin olive oil, lemon juice and smoked paprika. Mix thoroughly before

stirring in the tahini and parsley.


Season to taste and serve topped with a generous drizzle of extra virgin oil,

a little more parsley and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. This is lovely

served with crispbreads, pitta, crudités or as a spread in sandwiches.


Taken from ‘Keep it Vegan’ published by Kyle Books. Photo Credit: Ali Allen

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Warm Pumpkin & Red Onion Salad

It’s officially pumpkin time and I’m getting in early this year with a savoury dish that will knock yer socks off. There are so many ways to serve pumpkin but I adore it simply roasted and served in a warm salad alongside a few of my other favourite seasonal ingredients … cavolo nero being just one! There’s certainly a lot happening in this plate (what with the crunchy toasted pine nuts, chewy raisins and creamy tahini, maple dressing) but each component plays a vital part in bringing these incredible ingredients together in one harmonious plate of yum. I honestly can’t think of a better way to welcome in this most glorious time of year – almost like a gentle farewell to Summer and a fond hello to Fall.
Walking around Loe Bar last Sunday and watching all the autumnal colours appear almost before my very eyes made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, I couldn’t wait to get cracking with all my harvest-time cooking. With so much incredible produce at our disposal at this time of year, I can’t help but get so excited for the season ahead … crumbles, pies, stews and so much more. Bring it on!


what you’ll need

1/2 medium-sized edible pumpkin

2 red onions

1 heaped tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp chilli flakes (plus more to serve)

4-5 stalks of cavolo nero or kale

1 large garlic clove

1 tbsp toasted pine nuts

1 tbsp raisins

sea salt


for the tahini dressing

1 tbsp tahini

juice 1/2 orange

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

salt & pepper


what you’ll do

pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Cut the pumpkin into wedges, scoop out the seeds and add to a large baking dish along with the quartered red onion … I like to keep the skins on for cooking, as they retain their shape much better – you can peel it off once cooked.


toss the pumpkin and red onion in a tablespoon or so of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, oregano, chilli flakes and pepper – don’t salt them at this stage or the vegetables will leech their juices and lose that ‘roasted’ quality. Roast for around 45-50 minutes until soft – the red onion may be cooked a little sooner, in which case remove with a slotted spoon and set aside until needed.


heat a little olive oil in a large skillet. finely slice the garlic clove and add to pan. gently sautee for a minute or two, ensuring it doesn’t colour before tearing in the cavolo nero (or kale). season with salt and pepper and stir fry on a medium-high for several minutes – you’re aiming for a slightly crispy texture.


heat a small dry skillet and toss in the pine nuts. toast over medium-high heat, shaking frequently to ensure they don’t burn – 5-7 minutes should suffice.


place all the dressing ingredients into a pestle and mortar and vigorously mix until smooth.


once the pumpkin wedges are perfectly roasted, remove from oven, season with salt and pepper, and set aside for a few minutes to let them cool slightly. now it’s time to build your salad …


place the pumpkin wedges on a large platter-style plate before dispersing the cavolo nero. scatter over the red onion, pine nuts and raisins before finishing with the creamy tahini, maple dressing. finish with a generous sprinkling of chilli flakes. serve at room temperature for an impressive starter or divide between two for a main course – it’s excellent served alongside some freshly cooked millet.


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Buckwheat Beetroot Brownie Bites

Buckwheat has become a bit of a regular in my kitchen for no other reason than I like the texture it brings to baked goods – sweet and savoury. Delicate, versatile and gluten free, I find myself turning to it more and more frequently. These brownies were one such experiment and whilst they were lovely, I’m not done with them yet …  a few minor tweaks here and there just to perfect an already solid little recipe.


Whilst I know ‘refined sugar free baking’ is all the rage at the moment this concoction was actually borne out of necessity rather than choice – namely, my sugar supply was at an all time low. So, I pooled what sweeteners I had at my disposal (agave, maple and date) and this was the result. But seeing as the chocolate addition does contain some sugar I can’t claim that these are entirely ‘healthy’ although you could probably sub with cocoa powder, however, you may end up compromising on intensity. Left to my own devices (and proximity to any kind of general store) this would’ve been an all-singing, all-sugar affair because I’m not terribly bothered about keeping my diet completely ‘clean’. Ah, buzzwords, don’t you just love ‘em?!


The beetroot puree can easily be substituted for sweet potato or mashed banana but seeing as you can’t even detect it, it makes for a nice little binder with impressively subtle results – no overriding root vegetable flavours here. It goes without saying you should use pre-cooked beetroot not stored in vinegar. I simply blended it to a smooth puree before adding it to the other wet ingredients, which included a boat-load of melted chocolate and (crucially) a shot of espresso … I emphasise: the coffee inclusion seriously makes this recipe, in my opinion.


Be sure to bake it for less time than a regular brownie or else you risk it becoming crumbly … buckwheat doesn’t take well to being over-baked. I recommend 15mins max and let it completely cool before slicing – the more is ‘rests’ the better it will taste. Oh, and don’t scrimp on that sea salt sprinkle either. It finishes the whole dish off to a ‘T’. Sweet and salty? Hand it over.


what you’ll need

200g buckwheat flour

50g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

100g pre-cooked beetroot

140g dark chocolate

4 tbsp vegan margarine or coconut oil

3 tbsp agave

3 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp date syrup

1 x shot of espresso (strong)

60g roughly chopped walnuts or pecans


for the chocolate drizzle

100g dark chocolate

1 tbsp vegan margarine or coconut oil

1 tbsp maple syrup or agave



what you’ll do

pre-heat the oven 180 degrees celsius.


whisk the dry ingredients (buckwheat flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt) in a large bowl until combine and no lumps remain.


blend the beetroot to a smooth puree and transfer to a bowl.


gently heat the chocolate, margarine and 1 tbsp of the allocated agave (and a pinch of salt)  in a saucepan until smooth and glossy. add to the beetroot along with espresso shot and stir to combine.


make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the chocolate mix. fold gently until combined before stirring through the walnuts (or pecans) and transfer to a line brownie tin. smooth to the edges using the back of a spatula and bake for 15 mins – check at 12 mins just to be on the safe side.


remove from oven and let it cool on a rack before cutting into small bite-size squares.


melt the chocolate, margarine and syrup in a pan until smooth and glossy before generously drizzling over the entire brownie. let the chocolate cool slightly before sprinkling over some sea salt. set aside to let the chocolate firm and the brownie ‘rest’ … enjoy!


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Everyday Oatmeal


Following on from my post yesterday, this is an extension of my recent blogging musings only today I’m banging on about photography. Again. I know this is a topic I have touched upon more than a few times but what can I say, the struggle is real. Just as soon as I think I’ve grasped even the most basic of techniques, I go and forget everything I seemed to have learned … settings are my nemesis. Cloudy? Tungsten? Who knows – sometimes I really do despair.


Whilst I do deliberately attempt to create an ‘effect’ on many of my images (is stylized the word?), mostly I’m after a more natural feel. Not so much Kinfolk but absolutely along the clean, wholesome and most importantly inviting lines. Okay, so maybe it’s not just the photography I’ve yet to get completely to grips with – perhaps the styling plays a part too. I know what I like (see my Pinterest boards for reference) and definitely know what I hate – and truthfully, sometimes I really hate what I put out there. Why do it then, you ask? Well, partly because by not putting it out there means I’ll never get any better. Plus, I desperately try not to be afraid of failure … great things come from multiple (continuous, endless) failings. Or so I’m told.


I look at photos I took three or four years ago and it’s clear to me that I’m actually getting worse. No, seriously. I seemed to have peaked in 2011 and have gone downhill ever since. You could say I’ve lost my way. Ugh. In such regularly occurring defeatist moments, I find myself repeating the mantra ‘embrace your weaknesses, embrace your weaknesses’. It sometimes helps. Sometimes.


Blah, blah. Anyway. Everyday Oatmeal. What better way to practice my slowly diminishing photography skills than by snapping my breakfast. Nothing fancy but certainly delicious – and this got me thinking too. Why am I forever uploading recipes that I only ever make now and again when there is a bounty of standards that I rely on every single week? Recipes like my everyday oatmeal. Sure, it’s just porridge but everyone has their own fall-back method and this just happens to be mine …


what you’ll need

3 tbsp oats

1/2 cup water

1/2 almond milk

1/2 tbsp maple syrup or agave

handful of raisins


to serve

plum chia jam

apple matchsticks

ground cinnamon

crushed seeds


what you’ll do

place the oats in a saucepan along with the water. bring to a boil and then quickly reduce to a simmer until most of the water has been absorbed … about 5 mins.


add the almond milk and sweetener and very gently simmer until it becomes thick and creamy. toss in the raisins and keep the oatmeal on a low heat for a minute or two whilst you chop your apple.


serve with a dollop of chia jam, handful of apple matchsticks, sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a smattering of crushed seeds. et voila, breakfast is ready.


side note:


apple matchsticks … i slice my apple into thin rounds before stacking them and cutting into matchsticks.


plum chia jam … the plum jam couldn’t be easier either. simply halve about six plums, place in an oven-proof dish and cover with the juice of half an orange, a vanilla pod (plus seeds) and some sweetener. cover with foil and roast for 30mins until completely soft – doesn’t matter if they lose their shape, in fact, all the better. press through a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle in 1/4 cup of chia seeds, stir to combine and set aside to cool before refrigerating until needed. if you want a thicker jam, simply add more chia seeds. easy.


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Mini Spelt Cinnamon Rolls

I have so much to say in this post, I almost don’t know where to begin but seeing as we need to start somewhere let me open with this. Learning. We never stop. As a food lover, recipe writer, blogger and general human being I never stop learning new and interesting things. Sometimes these are things I chance upon and other times I actively seek out this new info, like the hungry hippo I am … gobble, gobble, chomp, chomp. At the moment, I’m in the midst of a YouTube cookery show binge (anything and everything but especially Nigella) and also reacquainting myself with a few blogs that I used to religiously follow … Joy The Baker and The Pioneer Woman being just two. These are the originals, to my mind, and the sages of the blogging world from which we can learn a great deal – the first and most important lesson being … never take yourself too seriously. And, if you’ve ever read either one of these ladies witty, smart (and downright hilarious) posts you’ll know what I mean. This isn’t just about food – this is about life!


Okay, so you might be thinking, why would a vegan gal such as myself read meat ‘n’ dairy heavy blogs like these – or indeed indulge (an unhealthy amount) in the televised works of arguably the greatest kitchen goddess to ever walk this green earth, Nigella Lawson. The answer is simple really. I learn SO much. Whilst I know I’ll never recreate these dishes verbatim in my own domain, I can at least imbue (or at least try to, ahem) a little Lawson magic in my food or all too infrequent soirees. Same goes for Ree and Joy … I just adore their enthusiasm, sarcasm and, of course, the way they seem to effortlessly throw a dish together.


Like I said, this isn’t just about food, it’s about how people connect with it, handle it and ultimately create something great from it. Meat ‘n’ dairy aside, these gals have one other thing in common … magnificent palettes – I don’t need to make their food or eat it to know this. Also, I’m pretty adept at compartmentalising so I can watch, read, immerse with ease – I try not to block myself off from inspiration, whatever form it comes in, and sometimes this is where I derive some of my best ideas and recipes. What can I say, it’s my process and it works for me. I honestly couldn’t fathom shunning a whole world of cookery books, writers, blogs and shows just because they’re not vegan – case in point, I am mildly obsessed with Nigel Slater who is neither vegetarian nor a vegan but boy does that man know how to make vegetables shine. It truly is a gift.


This brings me neatly onto another current obsession of mine … bread. Yup, whilst the whole world is running away from gluten and all things wheat based screaming, I am sprinting full pelt towards it with both arms open hollering ‘gimme, gimme’! Spelt is featuring heavily in this fascination, in all its ancient wholegrain glory. I use it in breads, muffins, cakes and now cinnamon rolls … although I will confess that I think a mix (i.e. 2/3 spelt, 1/3 plain white flour) in this instance would probably be beneficial – just a little heads up for you for you there, if you’re after a slightly lighter bun. With that said, I really did adore these miniature treats. Nutty, satisfying and full of cinnamony goodness – they’re such a delight and one even the most cautious of bread-makers can tackle.


I made them a couple of times and tested out two varying methods to figure out which one I preferred. Needless to say my Husband’s opinion differed from mine, which only made things a tad more confusing, so I packed him off to work with his favoured batch and I’ve kept these mini ones for myself. The main points of difference were the point at which I added the yeast and when I chose to knead the dough. For the mini rolls, I added the quick acting yeast to the dry ingredients before gradually pouring in the almond milk and oil. After bringing it together into a rough dough, I then tipped it out onto a floured surface before kneading for around 10mins until it was reasonably smooth and elastic … oil it, place it back in the bowl, cover with cling and set aside in a warm place (tip! I put it beside my pre-heating oven) for around 30mins. So far, nothing unusual there. The dough will expand, not massively, but it will be noticeably bigger and at this stage I rolled it out very thinly (less than 1/4 inch), brushed over my oil and generously sprinkled it with ground cinnamon and light brown sugar. Roll it tightly into a long but even sausage shape before slicing into rolls (about 2cm thick). Line a round oven-proof tray and arrange the rolls with the coil facing upwards – it might be a squeeze but that’s fine. Set aside for a further 20mins before baking in a hot oven for 10-15mins. They won’t rise a huge amount but will have a beautifully crispy yet light texture – almost like the central piece to their regularly sized counterparts, which, let’s face is usually the best bit anyway. This is probably why I liked them so much! As soon as they come out of the oven, brush them generously with maple syrup and sprinkle over some crushed nuts or seeds – et voila, mini spelt cinnamon rolls ready to eat.


Now for the second method. This will render a much larger bun, much more ‘bread-like’ and infinitely more substantial than the little morsels seen here. For this you will need to activate the yeast in the warm almond milk and once it froths pour it, along with the oil, into the dry ingredients. Mix as usual until it’s fully incorporated and forms a rough but reasonably smooth dough ball – tip! hands are your friend here. Still in the bowl, lightly coat the dough with a little oil to prevent sticking, cover with cling and set aside in a warm place to rise, as per usual. You’ll notice here, that I didn’t knead the dough immediately and this is the crucial difference – mini rolls, knead first, larger rolls, knead later. After 30mins, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for around 10-15 mins until smooth and pliable. Roll it out but this time ensure the dough is about double the thickness (1/2 inch) before brushing with oil (or melted margarine), cinnamon and  sugar. Slice into much thicker rounds, place coil-side up on a lined tray (about 2cm apart) and lightly brush with oil. Cover with cling and set aside to rise for a second time (this should take about 30mins) before baking in a hot oven for 8-10mins … yes, the mini ones do take a little longer to bake, which is confusing but accurate. As per the mini rolls, brush with maple syrup whilst they are still warm and sprinkle over some crushed pecans or seeds.


So, the rest is up to you. By all means, experiment yourself – not only with the dough but also with the add-in’s (I’m tempted to do a pb&j next and I may or may not add a little bicarb to the mix) but above all don’t shut yourself off from a good learning opportunity when there’s one to be had. In my humble opinion, the best vegan recipes come from the most unexpected of places – well, that’s my excuse anyway.


Mini Spelt Cinnamon Rolls

adapted from Nourish Atelier


what you’ll need

190g spelt flour

pinch of fine salt

7g (or 1 1/2 tsp) quick acting yeast

120ml hand-hot almond milk

1 tbsp agave or maple syrup

4 cardamon pods

2 tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing

1 heaped tbsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp light brown sugar (or palm sugar)


to serve

maple syrup

crushed seeds or nuts


what you’ll do


Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees celsius.

Gently heat a little almond milk, agave (or maple syrup) and cardamon on a hob until it’s hand hot … test it on the back of your wrist for temperature, ensuring it is not too hot – if it is, set it aside until it cools a little and don’t forget to remove the cardamon pods. Side note: If it is too hot it may interfere with the yeast activating.


Whisk the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually add the almond milk and oil (if it makes it easier you can add the oil to the almond milk but I prefer to do it separately) working it slowly into the flour – the wetter the better. Once you have formed a rough dough ball, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for around 10mins until reasonably smooth and elastic … remember this is spelt so it won’t be quite as pliable as plain white flour. Lightly oil the dough, return to the bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm places to rise for around 30mins.


Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a thin rectangular shape, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush over some olive oil, followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar before rolling tightly into a sausage shape. Slice into 2cm rounds and arrange neatly in a lined dish, coil side up. Lightly brush the tops with oil, cover with cling and set aside for around 20mins to allow the dough to expand and rise a little more.


Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-15mins – every oven is different so just keep an eye on them.


Remove from oven and whilst they are still warm, brush over a little maple syrup and sprinkle over some crushed seeds. Serve immediately or store in a container until needed … in fact, I just keep them in the dish and cover with foil.


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