Vegan Christmas Pudding!!

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So it is that time of year again, in fact I have been sitting on this recipe now for almost a year, I had to make sure it worked before I post it, and since last years was such a success today I am making it again.

Christmas pudding is time consuming, but easy and makes the house smell great! So to kick of the holiday spirit here is my vegan Christmas pudding.

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What you will need: (this will make 2 xmas puddings, because 1 is never enough!)

  • Brandy & Port to taste for soaking the dried fruit!
  • 300g currents, raisins, sultanates
  • 100g chopped apricots
  • 100g chopped prunes
  • 200g vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 100g wholewheat flour
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp all spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 grated cooking apple
  • 1 grated carrot
  • Rind and juice of 1 lemon

Misc – Lots of tin foil, grease proof paper and string!

What you need to do…

  1. Soak your dried fruit overnight in the Port and Brandy.
  2. Decide how you are going to cook it, this year I am doing one in a slow cooker, and one in a pan on the hob, either way you want to put a couple of cm of water in the bottom of the pan, a piece of grease proof paper covering the bottom, with a jam jar lid or similar on top of the paper to raise the pudding bowl off the bottom of the pan (to stop the pan getting marked from the metal lid.)
  3. Prepare your pudding bowls, thoroughly grease the inside of the bowls, and put a small circle of grease proof paper at the bottom… also greased! This helps turn it out when cooked!
  4. To start cooking…cream the margarine and treacle together.
  5. Then mix in all the other ingredients until fully combined, the mixture will be “soft drop”.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two bowls, leave about 2cm at the top to leave room for raising.
  7. Now for the tricky bit… get a large square of tin foil and a place a slightly smaller square of grease proof paper on top if it, grease the paper, then create a 1-2cm fold in both sheets, (this gives room for the pudding to raise.) Place both sheets over the pudding bowl, tin foil up, and then tie string tightly around the outside to keep the lid in place. It is really important to make this as tight as possible, wrap the foil tightly around the bowl, and try to make sure that there is no paper showing, as much as possible you want to make sure no water can seep into the pudding. Before lowering the pudding into the pan, get a long sheet of tin foil, and fold in quarters to make a belt of foil, place this under the pudding bowl, you can use this to lower the bowl into the pan, and remove when hot! Lower onto the jam jar lid and cook…

image     8.  Cook for at least 6hr on the hob and 8hrs in the slow cooker, keep checking every             2hrs that there is still water in the pans, you want it to come about half way up the               side of the pudding bowl.

9.  Once cooked leave to cool completely then redo the grease proof paper and foil lid.             It is important you replace this before you store it. In theory you can store for up to             a year… but I haven’t tried that yet!!

10.  Cook again for at least 2hr before serving, then tip out onto a plate, carefully heat up           some brandy over a gas hob in a metal soup ladle or similar and once on fire pour               over your pudding!!! (Its traditional to play with fire isn’t it?!)

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Mincepie Cake! (Not just for Christmas!)

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So back in December when I posted “Cheeky Cheaters Mincepies” my sister made a comment about how great mincepie cupcakes were…I took it one better and here is the Mincepie Cake (maybe I just made it bigger, whatever!) This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten or made, it is now my partners favorite cake and who cares about Christmas this cake is so good it will be made all year round!

Of course the joy of it being just after Christmas jars of mince are now very cheap… I realized I would be making this cake a lot when my partner came home with 8 jars of mince, but at only 10p a jar I couldn’t complain… this cake is just too good!

What you will Need:

(This recipe works best if you have 1 large mixing bowl and 2 other bowls)

Large Mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup vegan margarine (I use Pure Soya because it is basically flavorless)
  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry bowl:

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Wet bowl (or jug!):

  • 240ml Soya Milk + 1 tbsp Cider Vinegar (combine and leave for 5mins to turn into buttermilk)
  • 6 tsp egg replacer combined with 8 tbsp warm water (whisk this together before adding to the soya milk.

Other: 2 large tbsp Christmas Mince

What you need to do:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 170c and prepare two 23cm tins (to make one large sandwich  cake, or use two smaller 18cm tins to make two small, but separate cakes, you can always cut these in half if you want to make it a sandwich cake!)
  2. In your main mixing bowl  you will have the margarine, sugar and vanilla extract, combine these until light and fluffy.
  3. You should have two other bowls, one with wet and one with dry ingredients. Add these slowly to your main bowl until all your ingredients are fully combined. (If you missed out the cinnamon you could just go right ahead now and put this in the oven, this is a lovely light Victoria Sponge style cake, soft moist and delicious!)
  4. However the magic touch with this cake is to add the Christmas Mincepie mix now, two large tbsp should be enough, but if you want it extra mincey just add more! You may find that if the jar of mince has got cold it might crystallize a little, 30secs in the microwave should sort this out if your worried about it.
  5. Once the mince is fully combined, split the mixture between your two tins and bake… If you have gone for one large cake in the 23cm tins this should take about 20-25mins if you have gone for the smaller more compact tins it will take 25-30mins. Test with a wooden toothpick, if it comes out clean your baked 🙂
  6. Once cooled you can just lightly dust with icing sugar and serve as is, the cake needs no more, or if your feeling adventurous, a light marmalade makes a great sandwich filling!

Christmas lentil roast

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So a little seasonal one to start with since it is the season and all! I first saw a recipe for this a few weeks ago, having tried it and tweaked it here is my vegan made easy version! Total cook time 50mins, (20mins prep time and 30mins in the oven)

Quick shopping list:

  • 1 pack ready roll puff pasty (double check the ingredients, but most ready roll puff is now vegan!)
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils (easy cheat buy a packet of “Merchant Gourmet” Puy Lentils)
  • 1/2 pack Mushrooms
  • 1 large Red/Yellow Pepper
  • 2-3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 1 small handful dried cranberry’s
  • 3-5 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 onion (optional, I am allergic to onion so never cook with it, but understand many like them!)
  • tomato paste (to taste, I use about 2 tablespoons worth)
  • 1 small handful chestnuts
  • 2 handfuls mix nuts (suggest walnuts and brazil nuts)

How to cook:

  1. Take the ready roll puff pasty out of the fridge, it will need to sit for at least 10mins before you use it.  Pre heat your oven.
  2. Prep all your fresh veg (plus your chestnuts and sun-died tomato), cut it small you dont want too many lumpy bits. Cut your chestnuts a little larger, they are very soft when cooked so add great texture.
  3. Fry all your fresh veg, minus the spinach this will be added later. Add mixed herbs as many as you like and whatever you like, personally basil and oregano are my fave.
  4. Once your veg, partially the mushrooms have started to soften add the sun-dried tomato, chestnuts, tomato paste and lentils. Cook on a medium heat for a few mins before adding the Spinach. Leave to simmer for a few minutes
  5. Prep your nuts, you can easily cut them to the required size in a normal food processor. I would suggest you want small to pea sized lumps of nut.
  6. Take your pan off the heat. Add the nuts and mix them through. The mix should be moist and soft, but almost stiff, you dont want a wet mix.
  7. Take your ready roll puff and cut it in half. You should have enough mix to make 1 very full bake, or 2 medium sized!
  8. First work out which way you are going to want to roll the pasty, I find it easier to roll away from me, so I take my pastry, and pile the mix up in a long line, on the side furthest away from me, about 1inch away from the far side. You do this so that you can roll the remaining pastry over the top, wet the edges of the pastry so that you can join the line, and gently push the whole bake over a little  so that the joining line is at the bottom of the bake. Dont worry if this isn’t perfect, so long as it is mostly joined the bake shouldn’t split too much!
  9. slice the top of the bake into segments that you will then use to guide you when you plate up later! (I only do 3 even slices, this gives 4 even pieces.)
  10. Put into the oven and bake for 30mins at 180c
  11. Enjoy!! (great with tasty roast potato and gravy the works, can also be pre-heated if you dont eat it all in one sitting.)