Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vegan Muffins on Rachel Allen's Cake Diarys

A vegan baking recipe made it onto an Irish cooking show! I was pretty surprised when Rachel Allen, Baking extraordinaire featured a vegan recipe on her RTE Cake Diarys show. I was told by a few people about this being on so I watched it and got the recipe on line. I recommend the recipe a lot. The muffins were really easy to make and came out great.

The recipe called for raspberries. I used a mixture of the few remaining raspberries growing in my garden along with some blackberries I picked in the park behind my house. So resourceful and cheap!

Vegan Raspberry Muffins Recipe

The Ingredients

  • 225 g (8oz) plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 75 g (3oz) caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 150 g (5oz) fresh (or frozen and defrosted) raspberries
  • 225 ml (8fl oz) soya or rice milk
  • 50 ml (2fl oz) sunflower oil
  • 1 tblsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12-cup muffin tray and 10 muffin cases
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4), and line the muffin tray with the paper cases.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl, then mix in the sugar and orange zest. Carefully fold in the raspberries and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, then add these to the flour mixture, folding in to combine. Divide the batter between the muffin cases, filling each three-quarters full, then bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden on top and springy to the touch.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then take the muffins out of the tray and place on a wire rack to cool down completely.
If anyone has any other great muffin recipes, pass them on to me! I want to try make really big ones and ones to have for college breakfasts. 

Friday, September 28, 2012


There isn't a dish more Irish and more suited to this time of year than Collcannon! For those of haven't heard of it before, Collcannon consists of mashed potato, ground up Kale and Onion with loads of butter. Seriously yum, satisfying for cold days and most importantly nutritious. Any vegan doesn't really need to be told of the nutritional benefits of Kale. Here is some information anyway:

If you have a food processor, blend the kale up with white onion and mash into mashed potatoes with loads of butter(I use Pure Sun Flower) , salt and pepper and you're done. Taste's great on buttered bread too.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vegan Carrot Cake Cookies

I love cookies and when you come across a vegan cookbook packed full of cookie recipes, you get pretty excited. I picked up this great book:Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar over Christmas and only really have started using it! All the measurements were in cups, but I got my hands on a cup measurement jug so I could bake to my hearts content after that. The book itself is really great and has so many amazing recipes in it.

The best (and kind of worst) thing is that they are all so quick and simple to make. I've been known to whip up a batch within minutes of having a cookie/chocolate craving!

I checked out a couple of the recipes but the Carrot Cake Cookies have got to be my favourite. It's a genius idea combining two amazing types of cake! So I had some homegrown pretty deformed looking carrots growing in my garden. So I thought, why not use them in this recipe and turn their ugly appearance into something delicious.

If you're digging this genius carrot cake and cookie combination so far, here is the recipe!
Carrot Raisin Spice Chews

1/3 cup non dairy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds ( I didn't add these)
1/2 cup vegetable oil or peanut oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnut (optional really)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree farenheit and grease or line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, flak seeds, oil, brown sugar, sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and spices. Stir to moisten ingredients and then fold in carrots, coconut, raisins and walnuts. Dough will be sticky and moist.

3. Drop generous table spoons of the dough onto cookies sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes until the edges brown and the tops are firm. Leave to cool and then enjoy!!

My Tips:
They're very sweet so maybe hold off on some of the sugar. Make a lemon glaze to go on top and go all out and make an amazing ice cream sandwich out of 2 cookies. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apple and Blackberry pie

I always look forward to blackberry season in Ireland. I live in Killiney,  an area where there is no shortage of blackberry bushes scattered throughout parks and country like lanes that surround my house. The best spots are well know so you need to ensure you get there before another blackberry enthusiast gets there and cleans the best bushes of their juiciest and most ripe berries. 

Mullins Hill is one place in Killiney that covered in overgrown blackberry bushes and where the BEST are found. During the summer the hill becomes some what of a sun trap so the berries benefit from the heat slowly sweetening them up for Autumn. 
Apples are another fruit widely found on road sides and you can successfully grow apple trees in your back garden in Ireland.
So this time of year has come again. I went on my annual blackberry scavenge and I got my hands on a bag of Irish apples freshly picked from a friend's garden. 

I made a crumble pie using blackberries I collected along with some cooking apples. I followed the same crumble recipe I've used before here. I just used blackberries and applies instead of raspberries and blueberries. I made a vegan shortcrust pastry base which was very easy to make as well. 

And here is the end result! So yummy and perfect for this time of year. I was a big fan of it. 

Vegan in Budapest

I went to the beautiful Budapest with my mum for a few days in August. It is an amazing city and has plenty of vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafes.

I got a map of Budapest and marked out on the map where all the vegi/vegan restaurants were. I did this with the help of searching 'Vegan' into google maps and of course with This is a very handy way of knowing what restaurants are near by. There was always options nearby the major attractions!

Breakfast was the only tricky part. I'm not much of a breakfast person as well. So breakfast consisted of bread, Starbucks and some fruit. Eden Vegan restaurant on Buda Hill do a vegan breakfast, but we didn't make it over for breakfast.

I stayed in the amazing Corinthia Grand Royal Hotel, Which was amazing! I never get to stay in very luxury places but we got a good deal so why not! The room service menu and the various bar/restaurant menus were very accommodating to those with allergies. Each dish stated if it contained eggs, diary etc. This was great to see. I had pasta on the first night.

Now down to the food. We were luckily located a few blocks away from Napfényes Étterem vegan restaurant. I had a great experience here and the food was great. The menu is available online so we were able to have a little look before. They have loads of vegan pizzas but I had a horrible cheesless pizza that day that was enough to put me off pizza for a while. I wasn't that hungry but I over ate anyway! Don't think I had ever eaten in  100% vegan place before. I went for the ''Fried Pancakes Filled with Vegetable Cream served with Mashed Potatoes and Onions (spelt wheat pancakes filled with spicy vegetable cream served with fried, mashed potatoes and savory tomato sauce)'' and finished it off with some sugar free choccy cake!   

Located at the foot on Buda hill is Edeni Vegan Restaurant.
The location is quite great, it's located right beside the Batthyany Terace metro stop which is on the red line. It is also located at the bottom of buda hill which is home to many many attractions. It's about a 10 minute walk up to the hill. So very convenient, you can grab a vegan breakfast before setting off to Buda castle or you can enjoy lunch after a morning of exploring. Down to the food, I'll be honest in saying that I can't really remember what I had but there was a great selection to choose from, including desserts and smoothies.

We ate at Hummus Bar  few times. There are a few located around the city and 2 of which are fully vegi. We never made it to one of 100%vegi ones! But we ate a couple of times at the other locations. They have a wide range of food to offer and lots of vegan falafel options. Seriously handy and very cheap. Also great if you're travelling along with non vegi friends! Each purchase comes with a shot of delicious lemonade which makes you want to buy a whole glass! We opted for the falafel wraps the few times we were there. There is one restaurant located around the corner from St. Stephen's Basillica and also on the same street as the Jewish synagogue. So close to the major tourist attractions, if you're visiting them!

Lastly we took a trip a Govindas. There are a few in Budapest. Govindas tends to guarantee delicious and filling food. We went to one located near St. Stephen's Bascillica. 

If you're travelling to Budapest as a Vegan, I hope you found this blog post helpful!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

I was itching to make these for a few days for some reason. While attempting to do work in the library I packed my bags and went to the shops and picked up some flour and yeast to go make these. After finding a simple enough recipe the day previous, I was set to go. I followed this recipe here. It's from a vegan blog called Vegan Yum Yum! These buns are so soft, sugary and of course cinnamony. I put way much more cinnamon than the recipe intended. I just kept pouring! The more the better. What I find about some cinnamon buns is that they are quite bready and dry, these aren't though. As they are made with plain flour, opposed to strong white flour(used in bread making), they are soft and doughy.

The recipe was very simple so make sure to check it out here! I used pure soya butter for the dough and stork margarine for the filling. I also used a mixture of caster and brown sugar for the filling with LOADS of cinnamon, yum yum yum!

They were a hit with everyone and SO ADDICTIVE. I pretty much ate them all :(

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oat, coconut, raspberry, chocolate bars recipe

I posted about these bars a few months back and promised I would add up the recipe. I finally have! I made these as a thank you present when I left work. They went down a treat and people have asked for the recipe so here it is.

They’re a coconutty, oaty, raspberry and chocolate all rolled into one bar of delicious goodness. So here’s the recipe! They’re a recipe from the book ‘Sweet Vegan’ by Emily Mainquist.

Oat, coconut, raspberry, chocolate bars recipe

-195g plain flour
-160g soft dark brown sugar (I just use caster sugar if I don’t have any brown sugar)
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-225g stork margarine
-120g porridge oats
-45g desiccated coconut
-350g raspberry jam (I just use a whole jar or near about. I don’t measure it)
-90g chocolate chips/chunks (just chop up a chocolate bar.

1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
2. Get a baking sheet or tin and line it with baking paper or heavily grease with butter/margarine.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder and whisk together until well combined.
4. Using an electric beater start beating in small chunks gradually to the flour mixture. Beat until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Make sure there are no large margarine chunks.
5. Add the coconut and oats and mix again until well combined.
6. Press about 1/3 of the dough onto the baking sheet. Make sure it’s quite equal levelled. I sometimes use a rolling pin to flatten and spread it out. (Remember there’s baking powder in the recipe so it will rise slightly.)
7. Then spread the jam on top on the dough. And then place the remaining dough on top of the jam. I break up little chunks of the dough and spread it around the top. Then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
8. Bake for 20-25 mins until bubbly and golden brown. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.

An Eco Dublin Guide

I just finished up a 6 month internship with the Visit Dublin team in Failte Ireland. I was working on the website, which is the official tourism site for Dublin. Just before I left, the newly designed and updated Insider Guides went up. One of which is an Eco Dublin Guide which features lots of tips for  vegetarian/Vegan dining in Dublin. I was happy to see such a useful resource being implemented.
You can download the handy guide here. And check out the rest of the guides too, they're great.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Being a Vegan while holidaying in Spain.

I took a trip to Pals in Catalonia, Spain for a week with my friend Naomi. Her parents have an apartment there and while her Dad was over for 3 weeks, we decided to head over for a week.
The area itself is beautiful and is surrounded by acres of farms with sunflowers and other various fruit and vegetables. I've been to the area many times before but I think I only apreicated how nice it was this time.

I was kind of worried about eating while there. I don't think vegetarianism is generally common in the country side. However, it turned out to be just fine! I packed a packet of falafels and some nakd bars to keep for going for a couple days. I bought fresh bread daily in the bakery around the corner, Heinz baked beans, fresh vegetables and fruit and LOTS of dark chocolate and fruit. I used to spend my time eating fresh chocolate croissants from the bakery, they were sorely missed this time.

Eating out is where it became a little bit tricky.  I enjoyed some fresh vegetables prepared in different ways, Catalonia bread, pizza sans cheese and mainly.

 I came across a ice cream shop that did vegan ice cream!

 Chargrilled vegetables with Basil Oil. Was very very good!

  I found this fairly funny. The chef knew I was coming (he is friends with my friends dad) and he made me some slightly stir fried veg. Fairly unimaginative.

 Catalan Bread. Bread coated in oil, garlic and tomatoes.

 The best pizza I've ever had! This was unbelievably tasty. The sauce was perfect and I got onions on top. This was enjoyed on the beach!
And sorbet to finish!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quinoa and soy sauce.. who knew!

Here is another tasty and nutritious Quinoa recipe!
It is really easy to make and is full of flavor. Between the Quinoa and Sesame seeds in this dish, you're sure to get a sufficient about of protein and calcium.

Depending on  how many people you're cooking for, the amount of Quiona varies. I usually go for 100g per person.
This recipe includes Quinoa, Sweet Potatoe, Pepper, Chilli, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Seeds, Salt and Veg stock/Bouillon, parsley.

This recipe serves around 2 people, depending on how hungry you are! You can add as much and as little veg as you like.

1. Start by chopping your peppers and sweet potatoes. Chop them into relatively small strips, so you don't have to spend ages cooking them. Also add chopped garlic and chilli and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of dried basil.

2. Just before you put your veg into the oven, throw some seeds onto a tray and sprinkle with soy sauce. And then throw them all into the oven. Cook seeds for aprox 10mins and veg...until done!

3. Now for the Quinoa. Put 200g of Quinoa into a pot and boil 200ml of water. ( 200g =200ml water, 300g + 300ml water..etc)

How to successfully cook Quinoa: Add the boiling water to the Quinoa, put the lid on (important you do), bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins.
Still keeping the lid on, after 15 mins of simmering, turn the hob off and allow it to steam for another 15 mins. And Voila, light and fluffy Quinoa!

4. When Veg is done and Quinoa is done, mix it all together with the toasted seeds.
Chop a spoonful of 2 of parsley and throw that in there too.
Add salt to taste.
Add a couple splashings on Soy Sauce. 

The final product!
 The toasted seeds in soy sauce. Cook some extra and eat as a snack!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blazing Salads Cooking Demo

I've posted about Blazing Salads before, of course! Everything tastes great in there. For those who haven't heard about Blazing Salads, it is a Vegetarian /Vegan deli on Drury St, Dublin.
They have a seriously amazing vegan salad bar which contains a variety of different salads and toppings. You fill up a box with as much or as little as you want of the different salads. There is also hot food and soups which change daily, cakes, burgers, pizza and more!

Anyway, I got the opportunity to attend a Blazing Salads's cookery demonstration at the Dalkey Book Festival given by founders Pamela and Lorraine. They gave a very humble demonstation to a small crowd, provided great recipes, tips and most importantly, let everybody try the goods! They made a roasted vegetable quinoa salad and chocolate nut bars. The quinoa tasted amazing so I gave it a go this morning! They also gave great instructions for successfully cooking quinoa, see blow!

How to properly cook Quinoa:

I had never properly known how to cook quinoa before. Pamela and Lorraine gave a reliable method which works every time.This was great news for me because I like many people end up with wet and soggy quinoa!
It's equal parts quinoa to water. So 250g quinoa to 250ml water etc.

Cooking  Quinoa successfully: 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 15 minutes. The trick is to leave the lid on as you are going to be steaming it.
3. After 15 minutes of simmering just leave it to rest.

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.

Roasted vegetable and Quinoa 

250g Quinoa
250ml Water
1 Aubergine
1 Courgette
1 Pepper
2 cloves Garlic
2 table spoons of chopped parsley
Basil leaves
Dried Basil
Olive Oil
1 tin of tomatoes

Cooking the Quinoa:
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 15 minutes. The trick is to leave the lid on as you are going to be steaming it.
3. After 15 minutes of simmering just leave it to rest.

While the quinoa is cooking prepare the veg. Chop the Aubergine, Courgette, Pepper into small chunks. Put the veg on a roasting pan along with the chopped garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and dried basil on top. Roast for about 20 minutes. Take the vegetables out and pour the tinned tomatoes over the veg and bake for a further 15 mins until soft.

Add the chopped parsley, basil to the quiona along with a few swigs of olive oil. Add salt to taste. When the veg has cooled, add it to the quiona. So yum and easy!

Toasted seeds

In the demo they talked about how great seeds are. I already knew this and always add them to my salads and hummous for extra nutrition. Sesame seeds in particular are very high in calcium. They introduced me to a delish new way to eat them, toasted with soya sauce! I always just eat mine raw but these cooked ones tasted amazing. Seeds are readily available and you can get packs like this in the whole foods section in Tesco. 
Anyway, if you simply pop them in the oven for about 5-10 mins and then pop some soy sauce on them, delish!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Really easy, Really quick, Kind of healthy cookies..

These cookies are an adaption of the vegan choc chip cookies I posted about before.
I call these chocolatey, oaty, raisiny, peanut buttery and coconuty cookies. They basically have a load of yummy ingredients in it.
They are slightly dangerously easy and quick to make though. I've found myself twice this week wiping up a batch for myself..

Anyway, here is a recipe and I highly recommend it.
I don't have exact measurements for most of the ingredients as it's really down to your own taste. Everything is optional in the recipe really!

200g Plain Flour
Cocoa much as you want! Depends of how much you like chocolate
spoonful of Cinnamon
Desiccant much as you want! I just use a good sprinkling
Oats.. I use a good handful or 2 much as you want! The more the better, I find.
Chocolate chips (optional)
120ml Vegetable oil
100ish grams Sugar (I use a mix of caster and soft brown sugar) Anything goes!
60ml Water
Peanut Butter (couple spoonfuls)

Bowl 1 
Combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, Oats, Raisins, Chocolate in a bowl (The first half of the ingredients)
Bowl 2
Combine the oil, sugar and water together until well mixed.

Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix together. Then just roll out little balls and flatten them down onto a baking tray!

Bake for aprox 10 mins!
And voila!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vegan Burritos in Dublin!

Burritos are increasing in popularity in Dublin with a variety of new companys popping up. There will however be an ongoing argument of where does the BEST burrito. Most say Boojum, but I'd be moving more towards Tolteca!

Boojum - Mexican Burrito Bar

I had heard the Veggie Burrito was vegan but I contacted Boojum just to be sure. and the Veggie is 100% vegan ( minus the cheese and sour cream). I contacted Boojum just to see what they say regarding the burritos being vegan and John kindly informed me with the following information:

'Hi Hannah,
Thanks for contacting us. Rest assured that the pinto beans are in fact vegan. A lot of Mexican restaurants use lard or bacon drippings in their pinto beans for extra flavour, but we do not. We want to keep them vegetarian so we omit these items. The black beans are also vegan.

All of our salsas are vegan as well as the guacamole.'

A Boojum vegan Burrito consists of:

-The wrap
-Fried Peppers/Onions
-Pinto/Black beans (I go for half and half)
-Rice (Mexican/plain)

Boojum Mexican Burrito Bar is located on Millennium Walk Way in Dublin. Just behind Jervis Shopping Centre and across the bridge from Temple Bar. Nice and Central! 

Tolteca Burritos:

Tolteca located on Baggot Street and recently open a city center location on Suffolk Street offer vegan friendly and vegetarian burritos, fajitas, salads and burrito bowls. Extremely tasty and 5 euro deals offered for students with free drink refills. I personally prefer Tolteca to Boojum. It is a bit more expensive here but the burritos don't make feel as sick and full as Boojum does. 
The Vegi Burritos and Bowls also contains:
-The wrap
-Fried Peppers/Onions
-Black beans (pinto not 100% vegi)
-Rice (brown/white)

Great for a causal meal or just a quick one. Compared to other Dublin Burrito joints, Tolteca on Suffolk Street has plenty of seating so no need to worry about getting a seat. 

Tolecta also claim to have 'happy food' meaning 'We work hard to ensure that our suppliers have the highest animal welfare practices and care about our environment. All our meats are certified Irish and Board Bia approved. Our vegetables, cheese and sour cream are of the highest quality and purchased locally where possible. Tolteca serves you caged free naturally raised Irish chicken and meats'. 
It's still animal products and farming but it's a better effort than most places!

I’m pretty sure the pinto beans ARE NOT VEGETARIAN! So double check if you’re taking a visit.

For more information see:

So that's 2 burrito joints in Dublin, perfect for a quick bite, especially when eating with no vegan/vegetarian friends!