Friday, April 12, 2013

Possibly the tastiest pesto covered roast veg pasta bake..

So I've named this (extremely addictive) dish 'Possibly the tastiest pesto covered roast veg past bake'. And it certainly lives up to it's name. I can shamefully admit to eating entire dishes of this to my self in one or two sittings. Please don't judge, I can explain why.  You have the pasta and who doesn't love carby pasta? You've got really sweet, soft and flavoursome roasted veg. You've got homemade subtle yet just the perfect amount of pesto and then you've got the baked bread crumbs. Who couldn't say not to that?
So there's a few steps to this heavenly dish: the homemade or (store bought) pesto, the roasting of the veg and the pasta. Here is what to do:

1. Making the Vegan Pesto

I make my own because it's impossibe to find vegan basil pesto in Dublin. It's really really easy to make and here is how I make it:

  •  2 standard packets of fresh basil ( as much as you would like really)
  • A good handful of pine nuts
  • Nutritional Yeast flakes (as much as you want to taste)
  • A good old glug of olive oil
  • A clove of garlic
  • Chilli (optional)
  • & Salt and Pepper
Throw all of that in a blender and there you have vegan basil pesto!
Pesto tip: Pesto is pretty pricey to make but you can get 2 packets of fresh basil in Tesco for 2 euro. Pine nuts are also majorly expensive BUT you can pick up packets for 1 euro in Tiger stores which are found around Dublin.

2. Making the Roasted Vegetables

This is the best part and the sweeter the veg, the better. Chop whatever vegetables you desire into small bite size pieces. The smaller they are, the quicker they cook and the quicker they cook, the quicker you get to tuck into some amazing pasta bake. So season them up and roast until they're soft and juicy.
I like to use peppers, garlic, courgette, mushrooms and butternut squash but anything goes. I do strongly recommend courgette though, you'll understand why if you go with it.

3. Boiling the boring, soon to be exciting Pasta!

I prefere to use wholegrain pasta but feel free to use normal. I don't have exact measurements for how much to cook but just go with how much you need to fill your dish of choice. Keep in mind that the more pasta you cook you less concentrated the pesto will get. 

4. The final steps towards a pesto pasta party

So once you're pasta is boiled and your veg is roasted and oozing flavour, throw it all in a bowl with the pesto and mix it around until you've got a nice even spread.

For a topping I mixed nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs and a small bit of oil! I also chop cherry tomatos into small pieces, squeeze all the moisture out of them and place on top of the pasta bake so they become crispy when being baked.

Friday, February 8, 2013

My last post was in October, quite a while! Sorry to any readers I may have.... anyone?
I've been very busy with college but as I was writing about in my previous posts, I've been busy setting up Vegi and Vegan Dublin!
The website is fully up and running but my main focus at the moment with it is the Facebook and Tumblr page!
Please check them out here, like, follow and share!

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.