Easter Simnel Cake Vegan & Gluten Free

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So before the Easter brake is totally over here is an amazingly rich Gluten Free, Vegan celebration cake. Known as a Simnel cake it has something to do with the 11 true disciples of Christ. (I am hazy on the religion but the cake is too good to ignore!)

I actually got the recipe from the Doves Farm website, they have some great ideas, partially for Gluten Free baking. These cake comes complete with homemade Marzipan, I had no idea it would be so easy to make!! This really is a true celebration cake, so rich and sticky, you would never know it was Gluten Free or Vegan!!

Link to Simnel Cake Recipe: Gluten Free Simnel Cake

A quick note on the recipe, in point 1. It means add the icing sugar and in point 2. It means the brown sugar!!! Also when making the marzipan you might need to add a little more water in your lemons are small, you want a firm dough you can roll and mold.

I cooked mine in a bigger tin, because I didn’t have an 8in, so I cooked it for about 1 and a half hours at about 120c

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Veggie Curry & Naan

 

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Gosh it has been a while since I last managed to find time to post anything on here… life has been crazy, I got a new job, moved out of the cabin and now am in a lovely little flat… with a very small kitchen and no internet! It has made life interesting! It is a rented flat as well, with a dodgy cooker which is slowly driving me mad… the temp keeps changing, some days it cooks hot other days not so much!

One of my all time fave dinners is Nicks veggie curry, and to make it extra special because I had a day off last week I made vegan naan bread! So here you go, fantastic veggie curry and naan.(I am afraid the naan is not g/f but the curry is!)

What you will need:

  • Lentils about 150g
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 small Cabbage
  • Spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • Onion (optional – I cant eat them but I know most people do!)
  • Mild curry power
  • Garam Masala
  • Coconut milk
  • Veggie Stock
  • ——–
  • ¬†1 tsp. active dry yeast (1/2 package)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. soy milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4-2 cups bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

What you need to do:

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If you want to make the naan you might need to make them the day before, or start early! It will take at least 2hrs to make them. The curry will take about 45mins!

  1. To make the naan follow this recipe: Vegan Naan
  2. Start your curry…Wash your lentils, the cover with water and simmer until they start to go pale, almost translucent, (about 20mins)
  3. Peal and chop the carrots and cauliflower, pepper, cabbage (and onion if your using it!)
  4. Fry all the veg together in a large frying pan or wok. Once all veg is tender, drain then add the cooked lentils, coconut milk, and stock.
  5. Now add the spice to taste, this really is a taste thing because different brands will make a huge difference when it comes with mixed spices!
  6. Let the curry simmer and reduce down for about 10mins. Now add the spinach – If you are doing from this frozen it will brake up quite quickly, if it is from fresh be amazed at how small it becomes once it has wilted!!
  7. Check on your naan bread, if you made them earlier you might want to toast them to warm them up again ūüôā
  8. Now enjoy!! For variations you might want add chickpeas or other seasonal veggies try with and without the coconut milk (you might need to add a little soya milk)

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Cute Chocolate Turtles!!

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“Aww they are so cute I have to make them!!” This was my reaction when a few weeks ago I saw a post from the fantastic blog Fork and Beans, if you are looking for vegan candy inspiration then this really is the place to look.

Here is the original post; vegan-chocolate-turtles

They take a little¬†patience, but really are very cute and tasty! I am not sure mine are as good as the ones from Fork and Bean but for a first attempt I was happy ūüôā

I also used Hazelnuts for the heads, and Walnuts for the legs since I didn’t have any Pecan nuts in the cupboard.

Peach Frangipane Tart!

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So your looking for a quick and easy desert that you can make in the morning to be ready for the even meal when you have friends over… difficult friends, friends with difficult dietary¬†requirements, the vegan, the gluten free mother in law… look no futher this is it, this is the easy, but fancy top nosh desert! (And as the vegan with the gluten free mother in law, I know your pain and frustration at finding decent deserts, once you’ve done a fancy fruit salad a few times you need more inspiration!)

What you need (1 large tart)

  • Mrs Crimbles Pastry Mix (honestly I have tried to make g/f pastry from scratch, it was not worth it, this stuff is amazing and it works!) – ¬†http://www.mrscrimbles.com/products/home-bake-mixes/
  • 3.5oz Vegetable Trex (or margarine)
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • ————————–
  • 120g dairy free spread
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • 6 tbsp cornflour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Soya Milk
  • 2 peaches, fresh or tinned (or other appropriate soft fruit!)
  • Icing sugar to dust

What you need to do:

  1. First make your pastry (this of course does not have to be gluten free, but if you are going to make it g/f I would strongly recommend using Mrs Crimbles Pastry Mix, I found it in my local sainsburys so think it is readily available! Follow the instructions on the pack…
  2. I use a food processor for pastry, advice I was given from my mum, she is right, it makes much better pastry, something to do with keeping the heat down and not over working the dough. So combine the flour mix with the vegetable fat in your food processor and give it a quick wizz, slowly add the 4 tbsp of cold water, the dough should quickly form up into a ball. Wrap this in clingfilm and put in the fringe until you need it.
  3. In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients, then add the margarine, rub it in like you would if you were makings a fine crumble mix.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and mix together to form a soft paste.
  5. Get your pastry from the fringe and roll it out until it is large enough to fill your tart dish(make sure you have greased your tart dish before you put the pastry in!) ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†…… a good tip for rolling pastry, partially g/f pastry….. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Cover your work surface in clingfilm, place your pastry in the middle of the clingfilm and then place a new piece of clingfilm over the whole surface again. Now roll your pastry, it will spread out under the clingfilm and once you have it to the correct size you can lift off the top sheet of clingfilm, and lift the pastry with bottom clingfilm and pace it pastry down into your tart dish. Now smooth the pastry into place. Once happy, remove the clingfilm and do any additional patching required. I challenge you to try it once, it makes things so much easier!!!
  6. Now your tart dish is lined you do not have to pre-bake the pastry, so fill the tart with your frangipane mix and then cover in sliced peaches.
  7. Put in a pre-heated oven for approx 25mins at 160
  8. Once baked leave it to cool for at least 1 hr and lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Truffles

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So Christmas has been a time of baking and enjoying the freedom to make and bake without worrying about the idea of over indulging, because surly that is the point isn’t it?!

These dark chocolate truffles really are the richest, most indulgent tasty easy vegan chocolates you can hope to make, they make fantastic presents and compared to buying vegan truffles they are a fraction of the cost!

What you will need:

  • 300g Dark chocolate broken into pieces, or choc chips. (use 70% min)
  • 2 tbsp Coconut oil
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 230g Coconut milk/cream
  • Coco powder
  • Possible extras: Chocolate for covering truffles, chopped nuts, ground ginger…

What to do:

  1. Put your chocolate, coconut oil and salt into a sized medium bowl.
  2. Heat your coconut milk in a pan and heat until boiling.
  3. Pour the boiling coconut milk into the bowl of chocolate and mix until smooth.
  4. At this point you can leave the mixture in this bowl, cover with clingfilm and place over night in the fringe. When you come to make truffles with this mixture it will be difficult but a lot of fun to try and roll lumps of melting chocolate into almost balls… this is what I did the first time I made it…. However as my sister pointed out, if I poured my bowl of chocolate into a lined tray before refrigerating it, I would then be able to cut my chocolate into appropriate sized truffles, without all the mess!! She was of course quite right, and it was very easy to make the square truffles, though I don’t think they were quite as attractive they were equally tasty!
  5. Once you have the truffles rolled, or cut into shape, coat them in coco powder, and then go wild… I coated one batch in dark chocolate with added rum and chopped Brazil nuts, one batch was left pain and when I cut them into squares I piped melted chocolate on top and then dusted them with coco powder and ground ginger.
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Sam covered in truffle goo while trying to roll truffles into appropriate sizes!

The combinations seem endless and very tasty! They are best eaten at room temperature, and will keep for about a week if kept in an air tight container.