Sunday, February 16, 2014

Seriously Simple Vegan Chocolate Pies (that you can show off with)

If you have picked up anything from my blog it's that I do love chocolate and baking. So it's a Saturday afternoon and I have some spare time to try out a couple recipes. I was in the middle of making brownies (will write about these too) when I noticed I had a pack of firm tofu in the fridge. I also noticed I had some chocolate and those pastry cases in the press were crying out to be used. The dream of combining all of these together turned out to be something incredible. To think I spent absolute hours cooking vegan silken tortes (vegan cheese cake) when these really just taste as good and take a fraction of the time.

Out came the handy food processer and in went the flour, icing sugar and margarine. After it delivered a solid pastry dough, out came the chocolate and tofu. In those went and out came a seriously silky and creamy chocolate ganache like mouse. All done within less than 10 minutes. The end result was some really impressive looking chocolate pies that didn't take that much effort. All that was missing were some raspberries topped with icing sugar to complete the look. These little pies would be great served individually at a dinner party or something fancy like that!

So if you're impressed, check out this REALLY easy recipe for vegan chocolate pies.

1. Preparing the Vegan Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

This was just enough for 2 small pastry cases but double it up if you're making one large pie.
  • 125g/4½oz plain flour
  • 55g/2oz icing sugar
  • 55g/2oz soya margarine
  • A drop of soya milk/water
1. Throw it all into a food processor until combined/Or work up a sweat and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour/sugar until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. Then just bring it all together to form a dough.
2. Wrap it in cling film and place in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

2. Baking the Pastry

I used little pastry dishes to make mine but you can get creative and use something else. Or if you're making one large pie, use that pie dish!

1. Butter your pastry dish.
2. Roll out your pastry until flat. Don't worry if it breaks, I just mush it all into other pieces once in the dish.
3. Place into the pastry dishes.
4. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or just until done.

3. Making the Vegan Chocolate Ganache 

Now you can make the best part, the silkiest, smoothest vegan chocolate ganache. 
  • 1 packet of film silken tofu (drained).
  • As much chocolate as you want really!
1. Melt the chocolate
2. Pour into a food processor with the silken tofu and blend until smooth and silky.

Once your pasty cases have cooked and cooled, pour the chocolate mixture in and leave to set in a cool area.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Satisfying that Chocolate Craving with the Speediest Chocolate Cupcakes

I live in a house full of women and to satisfy the frequent chocolate cravings we have, there's pretty much always a bar of dark chocolate sitting in the drawer to satisfy and overcome these cravings. Just a square or two and it usually does the job, at least until we move onto the next craving!

And there I was the other night, chocolate craving arrived and of course there was no chocolate to be found. So that combined with me supposed to be starting on some college work, I decided I would bake something chocolately. I call it procrastibaking. I am actually writing this blog right now to avoid working too. 
I came across a simple vegan chocolate cake recipe online with only a handful of ingredients, so I gave it a go. These cupcakes were into the oven in less than 10 minutes and out in less than 20. Even though these happen to be vegan, I recommend that the non vegan baker try these out! There's no beating eggs and butter and sugar together, just mixing a few ingredients in the same bowl. So minimal washing up. So here is how to make the quickest and yummiest cupcakes.

How to Make the Speediest Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Cup of White Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon of Vinegar (if you have some)
  • 1 cup of Water

Step 1: Get a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, salt and add the sugar. Whisk it up a little bit. 
Step 2: Add the water, oil, vanilla and vinegar. 
Step 3: Mix gently with a spoon and fold the mixture together until all combined.
Step 4: Place about a large table spoon or more of the mixture into a pre lined cupcake/muffin tin and pop in the oven for about 20 mins.

Then the hard part, do your washing up! When they're ready, leave until completely cool and either top with icing, chocolate spread or peanut butter like I did. They also taste great by themselves and even better the next day. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Colcannon with a Sweet Twist

I have wrote about colcannon previously and my previous blog post also featured Kale where I said my garden is still full of Kale which I grew over the Summer! 

So here is another Kale based recipe: Colcannon with a small twist! The twist being adding Sweet Potato!
It seriously makes the slightly bland looking Irish dish so much tastier and colourful, so give it a go! Here is how to make Colcannon.

Ingredients(Serves 2):
  • 1 Large White Onion (Finely chopped).
  • 5 Medium/Large Rooster Potatoes (Peeled and cut in half)
  • 1 or 2 Large Sweet Potatoes.
  • A Large bunch of Kale (as much as you like).
  • Vegan Butter.
  • Dairy Free Milk.
  • Salt and Pepper.
How to Cook:
  1. Place your sweet potato(s) in the microwave with the skin on and microwave until cooked. Takes about 5 mins. (The reason I don't boil them with the rest of the potatoes is because the sweet potato is very moist and boiling them makes them very wet). 
  2. Peel and chop your potatoes and put them in a pot and cover with boiling water. Boil for about 20 minutes or until they are done. Drain and leave in pot when done.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking wash your kale and remove the leafy part from the stem and place it in a bowl and put it in the microwave. Microwave for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add your onions on top of the kale about half way through to soften. 
  4. Add your kale, onions and sweet potatoes(with skin peeled off) to your potatoes and mash it all up with lots of butter and a drop of milk!
  5. Add salt and pepper and serve with buttered bread(trust me it's the best way to serve colcannon).

Savage Kale, Coriander, Lentil and Vegetable Soup

My small vegetable patch which I filled with homegrown vegetables over the Summer is still delivering the goods. With kale at it's post autumny peak and carrots still good in the ground, I decided to throw them all into a soup. With that, I also have some thin coriander plants growing left over from the Summer too. Although thin and barely resembling the coriander herb, they seriously pack a pungent coriander punch!
Kale growing in my garden.

Weedy but powerful coriander, 
So here is a recipe I put together with a base of vegetables and greens fresh from my garden; a kale, coriander, carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash and lentil soup! Or more simply put a Kale and Vegetable soup.
This soup is packed with good stuff, really easy to make and of course super tasty!

  • 1 White Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • Half a Butternut Squash
  • 1 Carrot
  • 3/4 Kale Leaves
  • Bunch of Coriander (or as much as you want)
  • 2 Handfuls of Puy Lentils
  • 2 Handfuls of Red Lentils
  • Vegetable Stock
  • 4 Pints of Water
1. Chop all of the vegetables into to small chunks and put aside.
2. Throw your chopped onion into a pot and sauté until soft.
3. Throw in the rest of the vegetables and sauté for about 10 mins.
4. Add your stock and water and add the lentils.
5. Cook until the vegetables are soft. 
6. Add the chopped Kale and coriander and cook for another 10 mins or until the kale is cooked. 

And some pretty sick looking but tasty soup!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vegan lentil meatballs

An easy vegan lentil meatball recipe!

I can't believe the thought of making vegan meatballs had ever crossed my mind. It hadn't until I came across the following recipe for 'Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs' over on the Wholefoods Market Blog a couple of weeks ago. The recipe was so simple so I though I'd have a go at making my own meatballs. I didn't stick to Wholefoods's recipe as it called for a few ingredients I don't own. So my attempt at making meatballs, like most meals I cook was a 'bit of this and maybe a bit of that' type procedure. Therefore, I don't have an exact recipe with measurements to share but only the ingredients to easily make some vegan lentil meatballs!
Vegan and vegetarian lentil  spaghetti and meatballs
Vegan lentil meatballs served with spaghetti and tomato sauce - Spaghetti and vegan meatballs.
You can enjoy the lentil meatballs in a spaghetti dish or as a sandwich filler. Both work extremely well. The meatballs are extremely filling and packed with energy filled lentils so they make for a great meal at home or on the go. These meatballs do make for a healthy recipe as they are baked not fried and filled with lentils. However, there this recipe calls for  breadcrumbs. 

Vegan and vegetarian lentil   meatball recipe

Gather these ingredients for the meatballs:
Puy (green lentils)
Stock Cube
White onion
Courgette (optional)
Dried chilli, basil (any herb to your tasting)
Fresh coriander
Nutritional yeast/flax seeds (optional)

How to make the vegan lentil meatballs:

1. Preheat your oven.

2. Boil about 2 cups of puy lentils in stock until as much moisture is gone from them (without burning the pan)

3. Finely chop an onion,  chop half a courgette, a good handful of mushrooms into small chunks. Fry the onion until getting soft and then add the chopped courgette and mushrooms along with chopped garlic until the vegetables are cooked.

4. When the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are also cooked - transfer to a food processer or blender (or mash by hand) add your fresh coriander, chilli, dried herbs, seasoning and blend until the mixture is incorporated ( I like to leave a bit of chunk it). Add the mix to a bowl and add a couple of hand fulls of breadcrumbs and mix. Add breadcrumbs until the mixture is no longer wet and is thick enough to form balls.

5. Roll your mixture into small meatball size balls and place on a baking tray and bake for around 20 minutes or until crispy on the outside.

If you are going to add the vegan lentil meatballs to complete a 'spaghetti and meatball' dish, have your sauce and spaghetti ready to go when your meatballs are cooked.
Vegan and vegetarian lentil   meatball recipe

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The many questions and mysteries surrounding QUINOA!

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa....pronounced Keen-wah or kee noh ah? That is usually the first discussion I have with people regarding Quinoa. I always stick with pronouncing it KEEN WAH!

The second discussion is usually on the topic of what is Quinoa? 
Well a quick Google will tell you that Quinoa is in fact a grain like crop and member of the seed family. It is native to South America and appears to be increasing in popularity across the world due to its associated health benefits. It is a very popular food for vegans and vegetarians due to the high protein content along with other high levels of vitamins and minerals. Although its popularity in the western world has received some negative attention due to the demand pushing the prices up in south america, leaving locals who rely on the crop not being able to afford it. Read about it here. 

How do I cook Quinoa?

The second discussion I have with people on the topic of Quinoa is How do I cook Quinoa? It either just sticks to the pan or comes out soggy, is usually what they tell me!
I have previously posted a great set of easy and quick instructions on how to cook quinoa. I learned how to cook it at a Blazing Salads's cooking demonstration. You can read about it here.

It's equal parts Quinoa to water. So 250g Quinoa to 250ml water etc.

1. Put the Quinoa in the pan along with boiling water salt and vegetable stock (optional).

2. Put the lid on the pot and leave it on (this is very important). Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15
minutes. The trick is to leave the lid on as you are going to be steaming it.

3. After simmering  take it off the hob and just leave it to rest.

Tip!-I find that to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan or get too compressed, pick the pot up and shake the quinoa around the pot while holding the lid on.

Quinoa Recipe Ideas

Now onto Quinoa recipe ideas. I use Quinoa a lot across a wide range of dishes. I like to cook a large amount and keep it in a plastic container so it's ready to use with various meals.
You can add it to soups, stews, salads, burgers, sauces, dressings, cakes and more!

Quinoa Salads

My favourite use for it is using it for really tasty, fulfilling and healthy salads.

It's really easy to make a great quinoa salad using:
  • Roast vegetables  
  • Tofu/Roast Tofu
  • Toasted seeds
  • Green leaves
  • Chopped Salads
  • And whatever else you think tastes good!

Sweet chilled sweet potato quinoa and rocket salad

Flavouring Quinoa

Quinoa without any seasoning or dressing pretty bland and most people will agree! You can season it while cooking it but adding vegetable stock, salt or lightly frying garlic and onions before adding the quinoa to cook. 

My favourite dressings to use with Quinoa:
  • Soya Sauce
  • Happy Pear Sundried Tomatoe Pesto
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Beetroot Dressing
  • Chopped Parsley (any herb to your taste!)

Quinoa beyond Salads!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers and Falafel Bites

You can make a vegi burger even healthier and more wholesome by adding cooked quinoa to the burger
mixture. Roast sweet potato, chick pea, kidney bean and quinoa burgers go great together and make a nutrient packed and seriously colorful burger!

Sweet Potatoes
Tin of chickpeas
Tin of kidney beans
Olive Oil

1. Cook as much quinoa as you want to add to the mixture (Increase the amount in accordance to the amount of burgers you want to make). 200g is a good start of measurement.

2. Roast your sweet potato, again as much or as little as you want in the burgers. Too much can make the mixture quite wet though. I cut the sweet potato into chunks, cover in olive oil, salt and lots of paprika. I also bake the sweet potato alongside with garlic!

3.Blend a tin or chick peas and a tin of kidney beans in a food processor (or whatever combination you want). Add the baked sweet potato to the blender and fresh coriander (or any herb you want) and blend until smooth.

4. Place the sweet potato and bean mixture into a bowl, add your cooked quinoa, a good handful of breadcrumbs and mix.

5. Shape the mixture into flat burgers or into small bite size balls (perfect for salads). Place on a baking tray and place into a hot oven and cook for aprox 20-30 mins or until the burgers aren't soft and wet.

Additionally add quinoa to your soups and stews! 
Has anyone else tried some different quinoa recipes?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Vegan Package Swap - All about Vegan food

Glauce, a long time vegan, blogger, Mom and owner of All About Vegan Food set up the amazing worldwide Vegan Package Swap earlier on this year. The worldwide project which has nearly 500 subscribers allows vegans to send and receive vegan goodies from across the world every month! Sounds great right?

 Here are the rules as set by Vegan Package Swap:
The rules:
1. The Vegan Package Swap is open to everyone in the world. You don't need to be vegan to be part of it but all goodies in the packages MUST be vegan.
2. You need to register to the website and JOIN the Swap to take part (just once). We'll send monthly emails or newsletters to confirm your participation within 72 hours between the 3rd and the 5th of each month. If you DO NOT get the email, please go come to this page, login and click JOIN between the 3rd and 5th of each month (even if you did it before you'll be asked to do it again).
3. On the 8th of each month, you'll receive an email with the details of your match for that month.
4. Packages should have goodies up to the limit of $20 (or 15 Euro or equivalent in other currency). This value reference does not include the shipping value (it will vary from country to country).
5. The shipping deadline will be on the 15th of each month.
6. In the last week of each month you will receive an email to evaluate the package you received and the user (to help us to keep the quality of the project). - See more at:

A package from Dublin to Germany and from Germany to Dublin

I finally took part in the swap last month. I chose to swap within Europe and got paired up with a lovely girl from Germany! You can contact your partner to find out what they like and how they found the package when they receive it!

My Irish package -> Germany

I tried to include as many Irish products as possible but struggled. I did however include The Happy Pear's sun dried tomato pesto because it's an all time favourite of mine. There was a buy one get one half price sale on in Holland and Barrett at the time so I took advantage of that and included lots of goodies! It cost me just over 7 euro to ship this to Germany

My German package -> Ireland

I received an amazing package full of German products I had never had before. It included some seriously addictive (gone within 5 minutes) Roc & Roll's crisps, chocolate spread, almond tofu, a pudding mix, jellies, soap, a cream and 2 pates! Such a good mix. I've finished nearly all of the products but most of them didn't last more than a few hours!

I hope this post influences you to take part in this amazing vegan project! If you are like me are love waiting for packages, this package is seriously exciting to wait for because you have no idea what you are getting.

For more information see:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vegan Garlic Mayonnaise

I had previously posted about vegan garlic mayo after falling in love with it at Cornucopia Wholefoods Restaurant in Dublin as they make the most amazing potato salad with it. I had tried to recreate their salad by using the mayonnaise recipe in their cookbook using soaked cashew nuts, soya milk and oil. However, an insider told me that the recipe they now use for their infamous vegan garlic mayonnaise is now made using a more traditional soya milk/oil blend.
So off I went in search of an milk and oil based recipe and came across The Vegan Society's simple and quick recipe. 
How to Make Great Vegan Mayonnaise 
150ml (5folz) cold soya milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon mild mustard
225ml (8floz) vegetable oil
Crushed garlic ( optional or as much as your desire)

1. Mix the soya milk, lemon and mustard in a blender.
2. Keep the blender running and slowly pour in the oil. Stop the blender as soon as the mayo forms. 
3. After add in the garlic and seasoning and blend again.

It's perfect on boiled baby potatoes and topped off with chives (these ones are home garden grown!)

Vegan chocolate chip cookies invade my kitchen!

For those who haven't heard of the vegan cookie bible (Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar), listen up!

This great little book is packed with vegan cookies recipes that never fails to deliver.They're quick, easy and most importantly SERIOUSLY delicious vegan cookies. I've said before that the easiness and quickness of the recipes are the both good and bad news. I end up wiping up batches within minutes of a cookie or chocolate craving.
I have previously posted about the Carrot Cake Cookie recipe. A recipe I always come back to. Make sure to check that one out too if you're a fan of carrot cake. Anyway, onto the more traditional vegan chocolate chip cookie (Vegan cookies invade your cookie jar - Isa Chandra). Luckily, the recipe is up on Isa's Post Punk Kitchen site.
The Vegan Cookie Recipe
1/2 brown sugar
1/4 white sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two large light metal baking sheets.

Mix together sugars, oil, milk and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until it resembles smooth caramel. There is a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collide, so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stuff so use your hands to really work them in.

For 3 inch cookies, roll the dough into about ping pong ball size balls. Flatten them out in your hands to about 2 1/2 inches. They will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes – no more than 9 – until they are just a little browned around the edges. I usually get 16 out of these so I do two rounds of eight cookies. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

For 2 dozen two inch cookies roll dough into walnut sized balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches and bake for only six minutes.

My Tip: If you prefer yours with a bit of crunch add a table spoon or 2 of granulated sugar and leave them in the oven for just a couple minutes longer. Or if you like yours soft and chewy, keep a serious close eye on them. Make sure they don't brown too much!

Also if you're looking for cheap vegan chocolate, Tesco have Ryeland's 'Plain Chocolate', which are just over a euro!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The best vegi breakfast in Dublin...?

If you’re looking for a great vegetarian or vegan breakfast while in Dublin, Cornucopia on Wicklow street ( just off Grafton st) is the place to go.

They do an array of options including their homemade baked beans and sausages, crepes, scrambled tofu, eggs, pancakes and more.

Served from 8.30 am to 12 pm.