‘The Virtuous Tart’ Giveaway!

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What an insanely topsy turvy week. I’ve been up, down, basically all over the shop and can’t seem to get my head straight … I blame the heat – and the fact that last Sunday was my first Father’s day without Dad. I don’t want to dwell too much on that here but obviously it was a tough one and this week has kinda sucked because of it. The house renovations (or lack thereof) probably haven’t helped either and so I found myself procrastinating on just about everything – including getting dressed … jammies featured heavily but I’m grateful I still had the will to get my daily yoga practice in.
 
I guess I haven’t really talked much about yoga on here but it has been something of a salvation for me on and off for a number of years. Until we moved house though it had definitely fallen by the wayside, mainly due to the lack of room in our previous flat – there was literally no-where to get a good stretch going on. Something changed though when we moved into our new home. I suddenly felt the need to integrate it back into my life on a regular and more consistent basis. I know the ‘yoga every damn day’ mantra has been toted a lot on the internet (particularly instagram) and seeing it in hashtag form was previously a sure fire way to make me instantly feel terrible. Worse still … useless. How do these people do it(?), I would think to myself … it seemed so unobtainable at the time I completely dismissed the mere prospect of it.

 

Granted, I’m not exactly your typical self-styled yoga queen quite yet, however, I have found a way to make it work for me on a daily basis – whether it’s a series of simple sun salutations or a mini compilation of poses that change regularly, I’ve been trying to do something to keep my hand in (almost) everyday. I even went as far as to buy a mat in LA just so I could keep my practice going. It’s now gotten to the stage where I feel my day is incomplete without it. Even as I type, I’m planning to hit the mat as soon as I finish this post. My advice is to start small and don’t put yourself under any pressure to do a set amount of time or a particular series of moves – go with the flow and let your body decide what it’s comfortable doing on any given day. This flexibility will mean you’re more likely to stick to it. I’m only two months in but already I’m noticing changes, not only physically (although I am getting stronger and leaner) but also mentally … being prone to anxiety etc. means I can get overwhelmed very easily but I’ve surprised myself (and my Husband) lately by how well I’m dealing with certain social situations. I’m calmer, less fraught and I can only put that down to the yoga and mediation I’m working into my routine.

 

I’ve also been getting a lot of renewed pleasure from being in the kitchen (despite it’s currently ramshackle appearance) and have been lapping up all these wonderful new cookbooks on the market. One such book is the new paperback edition of The Virtuous Tart by the incomparable (and hilarious) Susan Jane White … the mistress of all things healthy and sweet, in my humble opinion. Her treats are uniquely awesome and the book is simply crammed with delicious recipes that will make you feel as ‘virtuous’ as that half hour on the yoga mat. Almost. Having already made her AmazoniaN Truffles (which are legit ‘to die for’) I thought I’d give her seedy soldiers a go … not just any old granola slice I can assure you – everyone that’s sampled them (Husband, Husband’s work colleague andย our lovely central heating guy, to be precise) has had an ‘eye widening’ reaction to them. That good. Andย now I only have two left. Sob.

 

Almost entirely vegan, this is a cookbook for any keen baker that wants to eschew refined sugar and dairy but still enjoy the odd slice of cake. With substitutes for virtually everything (bar 2, maybe 3 recipes) Susan guides you through all the ins and outs of dairy-free baking, making it feel like an absolute cinch. Food aside, her writing alone is enough to make you want this book. Her witty titles and intros had me seriously lolling and that humour feeds straight into her recipes too … everything about it feels effortlessly lighthearted, approachable and fun – plus the images are flippin’ gorgeous, just like Susan herself. Luckily for a few of you, I have three copies to give away (hurrah!) – all ye have to do is leave a comment below, telling me your all-time favourite sweet treat (well, why not?!) … I’ll then pop the entries into one of those number generator thingys and I’ll announce the winners in a week. In the the meantime, why not head over to Susan’s instagram/twitter accounts and show her some love … oh, and definitely go check her out on youtube – I’ll eat my hat if you don’t instantly fall in love with her effervescent personality too.

 

*This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who took part! The lucky winners were Louisa, Laura Buckley and Sarah McKenna.

 

chocolate seed soldiers

taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White (my comments are in italics)

 

what you’ll need

1 cup (140g) pitted dates, chopped

1 cup (120g) milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup (140g) cashew nut butter

1/2 cup (75g) raisins

1/2 cup (65g) coconut flour

1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup

2 tbsp. raw cacao nibs

2 tbsp. goji berries, plus extra to decorate

up to 1 tbsp. tamari or raw coconut aminos

130g 75% dark chocolate

 

what you’ll do

In a food processor, combine everything except the dark chocolate and decorative gojis.

 

Spread it out over a parchment-lined shallow tin. The perfect size tin is a 20cm x 25cm rectangular one, a little larger than the traditional 20cm x 20cm brownie tin. I place another piece of parchment on top of the base mixture, pressing down firmly with my fingers, Once the base is smooth, you can ditch the top piece of parchment. Chill in fridge – I refrigerated it for 30mins.

 

Meanwhile, slowly melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. This is basically a pot of simmering water, 2.5cm in depth, with a heatproof bowl sitting on top where a lid might otherwise have gone. The contents of the bowl will gently melt form the steam of the water underneath. The trick is not to let the water boil or let the bottom of the bowl touch the water underneath.

 

Smother the base in melted chocolate and parachute a few goji berries on top (I minced mine with a knife) for colour. Refrigerate overnight … I can also confirm that these actually get even better with time. Side note: when you initially remove it from the fridge, let it sit for a little while before cutting to avoid cracking the chocolate on top.
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52 responses to “‘The Virtuous Tart’ Giveaway!”

  1. Luke says:

    Bakewell tart!!

  2. Susie Flett says:

    A seasonal vegan fruit crumble is my favourite sweet๐Ÿ“

  3. Chloe says:

    Vegan carrot cake , ginger cake and ombar vanilla centres chocolate bar! I couldn’t pick just one!;)

  4. Sarah E says:

    Definitely vegan chocolate cake, or vegan chocolate chip cookies

  5. Kerry Magson says:

    My absolute favourite dessert is tarte au citron. Crispy, buttery pastry with a fresh, zingy lemon filling absolute heaven!

  6. Dark chocolate with sea salt. Failing that, almond butter. With sea salt. On a spoon.

  7. Elspeth Jones says:

    My fave is a plain old brownie! Cannot beat good old chocolate ๐Ÿซ ๐Ÿ˜

  8. Katoo Fournier says:

    My favourite treat is a mellow cake, kind of s mores or marshmallow on a cookie covered with chocolate.

  9. Sarah McKenna says:

    My fave sweet treat of all time is a vegan chocolate pie. Why use diary when avocado and beautiful dark chocolate exist! Good for you and the soul xxxxx thanks Aine

  10. Ciara says:

    My favourite sweet treat is probably vegan Jaffa Cakes. <3

  11. Linda says:

    My favourite sweet treat has to be a biscuit cake square or tiffin, totally indulgent and chocolates treat ๐Ÿ˜ Love your books and Instagram too Aine!!

  12. I’m going to try this with part dates part figs. Looks so yummy!!

  13. Sarah Mackintosh says:

    Banoffee Pie!

  14. Emily-May Hyde says:

    Creme Brรปlรฉe! I’d love to find the perfect vegan recipe!

  15. Aoibhin says:

    A simple sponge is my fave๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—

  16. Natalia says:

    Mmm, such a beautiful book description, made me want to have it home too!
    My favorite sweet treat would be vegan brownies, but i also love seeds-nuts- chocolate bars and raw snickers!
    Thanks for this giveaway!

  17. Laura Buckley says:

    I hope you’re doing okay Aine. I keep meaning to do some yoga but it’s hard finding any time to myself at the moment with a young baby.

    My favourite sweet treat… It has to be millionaire shortbreads. They’re really indulgent for me and I can’t stop myself buying them at vegan markets! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  18. Amy Robb says:

    Wowww…All time favourite sweet treat. That is gonna be a tough one considering the sheer amount of treats I eat everyday. I feel like a chocolate peanut butter ball is always gonna be a winner! But that was difficult haha. Hope you are coping okay babe, can only imagine how difficult that must be. Contact me anytime, I am a great listener! Much love <3

  19. Vicky says:

    Ooh ultimate treat is a vegan cheesecake mmmm.

  20. Janice Tracey says:

    My all time fav is anything ๐Ÿ‹ lemony like Lemon Possett with a few sweet soft strawberries sliced on top.

  21. Sรธs says:

    Everything with chocolate โ€“ right now it’s chocolate covered cherries. They are sooooo yummi!

  22. Joanna says:

    This recipe sounds lovely! I think my all-time favorite sweet treat s chocolate cake.

  23. Roseanne says:

    Would love to try the vegan recipes in this cookbook! <3 My favorite sweet treat has to be peanut butter cups! So glad they're easily veganizable!

  24. Peggy says:

    I am really sorry you have been feeling down. My father passed away 32 years ago but ithose special dates are still very hard. I just embrace whatever emotion comes and reflect and try not to be too hard on myself.

    I admire you for doing yoga everyday. I wish I was more disciplined.! I love nothing more than a Charlotte aux fraises. My mum used to make me one every year for my birthday!
    I am also quite partial to a tarte aux framboises!

  25. Lydia Sidery says:

    Well our current favourite is your no bake granola bars! our oven has been broken for a couple of months so I had stopped baking cereal bars…but I was so excited to see a recipe in your book for no-bake versions and they have been delicious. We swapped in date syrup for agave as we had run out of the latter and that worked well too.

  26. Abi Rose Fisher says:

    All time favourite sweet treat – Banoffee Pie (the new vegan style obviously!!)

  27. nicola w says:

    all time fave sweet treat is a medjool date split down the centre, stone taken out, a dollop of nut butter to replace the seed,handful of random seeds,squish it all together and lob it into the gob!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  28. liosa mac says:

    One of my favourite sweet treats is orange segments with coconut yoghurt and chopped dates in it – honestly it’s better than anything! Delish xx try it! X

  29. Daniel says:

    Red velvet cake!

  30. Shirley says:

    My fav all time sweet treat is chocolate biscuit cake

  31. Magda Pytlas says:

    My favourite must be lemon tart. Tangy and looking beautiful….never say no to it:)

  32. Deirdre Martin says:

    Can’t wait to give these a go and I’d LOVE a copy of Susan Jane’s book.

  33. Isabel Joyce says:

    Hi Aine,

    Loved this post on the Virtuous Tart. I’m a big fan of Susan Jane’s – love her ethos and her recipes. My favourite dessert is definitely rhubarb and strawberry crumble! I’m happy to note that it’s easily made vegan and free of refined sugar without compromising its taste. Would love to win a copy of Susan’s book. Thanks for the inspiring recipes.

  34. Iwona Keane says:

    Hello
    I am polish, but my all time favourite sweet treats are spanish churros! Love them since my 1st visit to Murcia in Spain.

  35. Ade says:

    My favourite sweet treat is coffee cake..I have it as a birthday cake too ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Evelyn Byrne says:

    Thanks for sharing this fab recipe, would love a copy of this delicious book!

  37. Gemma Cook says:

    I love home made fudge. I use a recipe passed down from my grandma. It’s a firm favourite in our house.

  38. Emma says:

    love Susan Jane! Her recipes are great. I love anything with rose or cardamom, but I’m a bit obsessed with blondies at the moment… love your blog!

  39. Louisa says:

    I can never resist a tasty slice (or two) of coffee cake! Would love a copy of this gorgeous looking cookbook, Tks x

  40. Rebecca says:

    These look absolutely amazing! I will definitely be making soon! My all-time favorite sweet treat is a really good oatmeal raisin cookie, which will do over everything else just about all the time.

  41. Triona Byrne says:

    Dark chocolate – I’ll eat it anytime, anywhere, melted with fruit dipped in it – so good!

  42. Aisling says:

    My all time faaaavourite sweet treat is banoffee pie and luckily i have mastered my own rawesome !!! vegan version ๐Ÿ™‚ cat wait to make these goodies too. also, i recently got back into yoga after being on and off with it for the past year and i’m totally on the same page as you! it’s so easy to get caught up in progress and ability and compare yourself to all the yogi types on instagram, so i have to filter that out haha.

  43. Clare Tasker says:

    This book looks great – I think one of the things I missed most when turning vegan was sweet things, until I got a bit smarter about substitutes. I love old school puddings, particularly rice pudding – which is great with almond milk, cardamon and cinnamon – yum!!!

  44. Susan says:

    My favourite sweet treat is a strawberry custard tart or flan. I cannot get enough of the combination of pastry, creamy custard and yummy berries!!

    (Not sure if it is open to international entries…?)

  45. Siobhan Mulvany says:

    Hi,
    My all time favourite sweet treat has to be sticky toffee pudding, a vegan refined sugar free one is even nicer than the normal one!
    Siobhan

  46. Keith says:

    I love all kinds of cheesecakes! Strawberry, passion fruit, lemon or Bewleys! It’s my favourite guilty pleasure!

  47. Ade says:

    My favourite sweet treat is coffee cake..I have it as a birthday cake too ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Tracey Susan Anderson says:

    I would have to say my favourite sweet treat would be a ‘Rhubarb Tarte Tatin’ with whipped cream … Yum! ๐Ÿ™‚ x x

  49. Keith Keane says:

    My Favourite is Tarte au Citron. Classic French pastry with slightly bitter and creamy lemon filling and topped with strawberries and a touch of vanilla sugar. My wife and kids love it.

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