Saturday, 27 December 2014

Vegan Celebration Trifle!

I made this monster-sized trifle to take to my mum's place on Christmas day. 
In all its glory, before chocolate grated on top
It was an architectural feat as well as a test of my organisational skills! 

Happily, none of the individual components are difficult at all. You just need to plan to make sure all the components are made and ready to go. I made all the different parts over a day in between preparing other dishes for Christmas, making granola for presents, etc. 

I have to stress that this trifle is really really worth making. It is especially great to feed a large crowd. The taste of all those layers together is decadently delicious.

Practically everyone asked for second helpings and for the recipe. I love that it is pretty, yet can be just slopped onto a plate gracelessly!

The bowl I used was very very deep!
This recipe is pretty versatile. You could add alcohol and different fruits!

Vegan Celebration Trifle  


2 x round vanilla cakes (I used this recipe)

Double batch of vegan pastry cream (I used the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, recipe also here)

2 x coconut thickened cream (I used Alpine Thickened Coconut Cream)

2 x large punnets of strawberries, sliced

2-3 cups raspberries mixed with a bit of sugar (I used frozen, defrosted)

About half a block of chocolate for grating

About 1 cup of black coffee


I divided each component into three to make three layers. 

I did my layers in this order:
  • cake, sliced to fit shape of your bowl 
  • pour a few tbsp of coffee over the cake
  • spread the pastry cream on top of the cake
  • spread the thickened coconut cream on top of this
  • place the strawberries around the side so it lines the bowl (this looks pretty in a glass bowl)
  • add raspberries
  • add grated chocolate
  • repeat!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Menu Ideas

What are you cooking for Christmas? I haven't decided! 

I've been scouring other blogs for ideas, but there are so many delicious options to chose from! 

I don't have the pressure of preparing a full Christmas lunch, but I need some ideas for savoury and sweet food to take to numerous family Christmas gatherings.

Here's a list of the dishes I've blogged about that I've deemed *Christmas appropriate*

I hope this is helpful!

Vegan Sausage Rolls

Heavenly Tomato Tart

Vegan Quiches

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Hungarian Cabbage Noodles

Roasted Potatoes

Pumpkin Pizza with Cashew Cream

Quinoa Salad

Pumpkin Cous Cous Salad with Macadamias

Hungarian Chocolate Chestnut Cake (no bake)

Beetroot Chocolate Cake

Raw Chocolate Vegan Cheesecake

Raw Cheesecake

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Vegan Shortbread Hearts

Vegan Lemon Cheesecake (made with millet)

Vegan Bounty Balls

Vegan Raspberry Cake

Basic Vegan Fruit Cake

Raw Hazelnut Caramel Slice 

Pear Frangipane Tart

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas break. I'm looking forward to reading about and seeing all of the delicious food consumed!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Basic Vegan Fruit Cake + I'm on Instagram!

I used to feel a bit of an instinctive cringe when faced with fruit cake. The fruit cake I ate when I was younger was filled with dried citrus peel, which I dislike, and had a strong alcohol taste. It always seemed like a poor runner-up type of cake (not chocolate!), a cake for grown ups.

I love it now! It's just so festive, isn't it? It tastes like Christmas. I love the spiced flavour of the cake with the dried fruit. Or maybe I'm just old...

The great thing about this recipe is that it's a kind of "build your own" fruit cake. I adapted this recipe from a recipe someone shared with me years ago. You could vary the type and amount of dried fruits you use (more dried fruit for a denser cake), add other ingredients such as nuts or even chocolate and change around the spices.

You could ice the cake with a cinnamon icing (double the recipe for this one if you use it for this cake), a vegan buttercream icing or just sprinkle icing sugar on the top if you're short of time! 

I love using a combination of sultanas, dried blueberries and cranberries in this cake because I'm not a fan of the citrus peel and preservatives found in the standard mixed dried fruit you buy in the supermarket. 

couldn't resist the santa!
This cake takes two hours to bake at a low temperature, but is very easy and quick to prepare.  

Basic Vegan Fruit Cake

3 cups self raising flour
2-4 cups dried fruit (I used 1 cup sultanas, 1/2 cup dried blueberries and 1/2 cup dried cranberries. More dried fruit creates a denser cake)
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2 - 2 1/2 tsp of spices (I used 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp cardamom)
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 2/3 cups water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 heaped tbsp treacle or molasses

Preheat oven to 150C. 

Combine all dry ingredients. Stir in the water, oil and treacle/molasses until just mixed.

Pour into a greased and lined round cake tin (make sure it's deep enough, it's quite a high cake). 

Bake for 2 hours until firm, risen and golden brown. 

On a different note, I'm now on Instagram

One of my best friends from high school (she has nearly 30K followers!) signed me up when she was visiting recently. I seem to need to be dragged reluctantly towards new technology, but I'll admit that I'm having fun sharing and recording photos of my food that don't warrant a blog post of their own or I just don't have time to blog about. There are so many amazing photos of vegan food in Instagram - as if I needed any more fuel for my cooking obsession!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Vegan Family Lunch

There is a scene in an episode of Six Feet Under where a "crunchy granola" vegan character serves some omnivores a "tofu meatloaf". It is subsequently secretly flushed down the toilet by one of the diners, who then (after one vegan meal) craves to eat something "that has walked the earth" from a fast food restaurant. Sigh! (although I do love the show...)

Well, thankfully my family is not this picky or clichéd! Nor am I, for that matter. I generally don't launch into a speech about the global slavery of animals at any chance (not that there's anything wrong with that).  

I've been vegan for about ten years now, so my family and friends are used to vegan food and are open-minded about trying my vegan versions of dishes. Having said this, I do agonise over what I will cook when I'm entertaining! In the end, I seem to cook a combination of new recipes I've had my eye on and tried and true favourites. 

Anyway, here's what I made for my mum and dad for lunch to celebrate Lexie's second birthday (I figure I'll give him a proper party next year when he can actually demand it!).

Starting with the most important (and prettiest) part of the meal, I made this pear frangipane tart from the PPK for dessert.

It was so hot in my kitchen when I was making this, not great when working with margarine, so I had to change around the quantities of a few ingredients. It turned out brilliantly, rich and almondy. 

I served it with the cashew cream from The Joy of Vegan Baking, which is cashews, water, oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt blended until smooth and placed in the freezer to thicken. It was delicious!

My mum also made this amazing vegan cherry cake. I'll be sharing that recipe on the blog soon!

On to the savoury, I made this spinach, mushroom and sun dried tomato quiche from Oh She Glows. I've made this previously with great success. I love it!

I made the always popular sausage rolls from Where's the Beef. The. Best. 

I also made roasted potatoes from this recipe. Lovely and crispy.  

I made my favourite salad at the moment - kale and carrot salad with the balsamic vinaigrette from Appetite for Reduction. I can eat this dressing with a spoon! It's cashews, spring onion, balsamic vinegar, mustard, agave, salt and water blended until smooth.

So there you have it! A lunch that no one flushed down the toilet, to my knowledge...