Category Archives: vegan

Simple 5 Ingredient Fruit Tart

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A quick and simple 5 ingredient fruit tart – Flakey puff pastry topped with jam and fresh fruit, served with ice cream. Perfect if you’re in a hurry!

Catering for anyone with an allergy is hard; I know a lot of my friends over the years have worried about how and what they will cook for me, and one meal still seems to flummox the best of them – dessert! So far the desserts on my blog have catered more towards someone who has had to give up dairy – to show them the impossible is possible – however not everyone has the time or inclination to make them. Sometimes you just want a quick and simple dessert whether it’s to make for yourself or for someone else.

And so it is this dilemma that has inspired this post; here I present a simple 5 ingredient dessert, which only features 1 dairy free ingredient! How have I done this, I hear you say? Well, with one of my shop-bought-dairy-free-life-savers – pre-made puff pastry. I remember the first time I realised that most pre-made puff pastry didn’t actually have any milk in it… it was like a world of possibilities opened up in front of me. Along with the pastry, the other ingredients are jam, fruit, sugar and dairy-free ice cream.

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The ingredient list might seem a bit vague but this is the beauty of it – so simple, and so versatile. The hardest thing you need to do is work out which fruit and jam combination you want to use! The flavour combinations really are endless; Pear & raspberry, apricot & rhubarb, apple & berries, peaches & orange marmalade, even banana and dairy-free chocolate spread would work!

So next time you need to bake a dairy free dessert for someone and get stuck, remember the puff pastry magic and get creative!

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Filed under dessert, Fruit, Pastry, vegan

Iced Orange Biscuits – Perfect for Easter

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Crisp, melt in your mouth shortbread biscuits flavoured with orange zest – simple enough to bake with children, tasty enough that you won’t want to share!

These simple but delicious shortbread biscuits are perfect for Easter and would make an ideal baking project to do with children; Baking these brought back so many memories of baking with my mum when I was a child. These biscuits are deliciously buttery (although, of course, they are not made with real butter!), crisp, yet they melt in the mouth like a good shortbread should.

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To get into the Easter spirit I used a mixture of baby chick, rabbit and egg shaped cutters and then simply piped icing all around the edge of each biscuit. Flavoured with orange zest and vanilla they suit all tastes, so make sure to hide some for yourself before they all disappear! You can of course use any zest you like or even add some extras like raisins or chocolate chips like I have in my egg shaped biscuits.

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Classic Apple Pie

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A classic apple pie; a just-sweet apple filling with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, encased in crisp shortcrust pastry. Perfect served with a scoop of ice cream or lashings of custard.

My new years resolution for 2015 is to master making pastry from scratch; with my family down this weekend, a succulent leg of lamb roasting away for Sunday lunch, an apple pie felt very appropriate – and what a great way to keep working on my pastry skills.

It is hard to go wrong with an apple pie – it’s so versatile you can really add and change the flavours to suit your taste. For my mum who has been away in India it seemed the perfect English dessert to allow the flavour of her much beloved apples (which are in very short supply in India!) to shine through.

I tried a new shortcrust pastry recipe for this which I will certainly use again. The pastry takes less than 5 minutes to make and once baked is delightfully short and crisp in texture. No soggy bottoms in sight! By letting it chill for a few hours in the fridge it is strong enough to be rolled very thinly without cracking which also makes it easy to line the tin with. You can, of course, cheat and buy a ready made shortcrust pastry (just read the ingredients carefully to find one without milk products!) but this really is quicker than popping to the shops and far more satisfying!

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The filling is very simple, only consisting of 4 ingredients – apples, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. I used Bramley apples for the pie filling and would highly recommend seeking these out rather than using other varieties. Bramley apples are strong in apple flavour and most importantly are sharp rather than sweet. This means you can add small amounts of sugar to create a just-sweet pie – which is then perfect to serve with copious amounts of ice cream or custard. Bramley apples also retain their shape well when cooked which means you still have whole chunks of apple in the pie which gives a pleasing texture.

To fit this in around cooking a Sunday roast it is easiest to fully bake it before you cook your roast and then reheat for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees when you are ready for dessert.

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Healthy Granola

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Breakfast – The most important meal of the day. And lets be honest, sometimes it can become the most boring one, especially on a week day. I’ve never been a cereal or porridge fan, so often I resort to toast with peanut butter… a worthy breakfast but sometimes I do fancy a change!

So along comes granola… a crunchy mix of your favourite nuts, seeds and oats, packed full of fibre and protein – what’s not to like? Well…nothing! Now, you could go out and buy one of the many branded versions around. But I want to convince you to make your own, and believe me, once you do you won’t ever want to settle for the shop bought stuff again.

  1. It takes less than 10 minutes to make 10 breakfast worths (I’m not kidding – If I was concentrating I think I could do it in under 5 – theres a challenge for you to beat!). Even better, you can easily do this one weekend and it lasts for weeks.
  2. You can personalise it. Don’t like almonds? Don’t add them! Want more sweetness but don’t like raisins? No problem, add cranberries! More than that you really can use whatever you’ve got in the cupboard – and equally skip or substitute for what you do have!
  3. It is healthier. Its scary when you start reading the packets and realise how much sugar is added to shop bought stuff. Now, as someone who writes a baking blog I can’t profess to be counting every teaspoon of sugar I consume, but I do try not to add more than needed. For breakfast I want to eat something wholesome, not something that’s going to make me hungry an hour later.
  4. It is so versatile. My favourite way to eat granola is with a heaped tablespoon of coconut yoghurt and some fruit – but why not eat it with almond milk, or make some breakfast muffins and add some granola before baking for a crunchy topping? The uses are endless!
  5. It’s cheaper. Enough said 🙂

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So – heres a toast to the wonderful granola. I hope it inspires you to give it a try.

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Filed under breakfast, Gluten Free, Sweet treats, vegan

Hazelnut Shortbread

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As I mentioned in my Christmas Fruit Loaf post, I spent this Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and it was wonderful. One of the best things was the sheer amount of thought and effort my boyfriend’s mum had gone to to ensure that there was always a dairy free sweet treat for me around the house.

One of the many bakes she made were these delicious Hazelnut Shortbreads. Light and melt in the mouth (like all shortbreads should be) with small pieces of chopped roasted hazelnuts throughout, they were just perfection. These are required to be eaten sitting down, with your full attention, with a cup of tea or coffee on the side. No cheating allowed – these are not your average biscuits!

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As well as chopped roasted hazelnuts there is also a small amount of hazelnut syrup. I have used Monin Hazelnut coffee syrup which works perfectly and ensures an extra hit of hazelnut flavour – you can find these types of coffee syrups in the coffee aisle (who would have thought such a logical place!) in most big supermarkets.

The only tiny addition I have made to the recipe from my boyfriend’s mum is to introduce a small amount of cornflour, which according to the Scottish inventors of shortbreads is used to ensure melt in the mouth perfection. Although, as my boyfriend’s mum proved, it is possible to get this effect without using it, if your touch is not super light it helps the biscuit be a little more forgiving and still give you the most melt in the mouth shortbread as possible.

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