Homemade Vegan Christmas Pudding

I do understand why some people say they don’t like Christmas pudding. No one likes a dry, crumbly boring, tasteless pud but this one is dark, rich, boozy and full of Christmas spirit – literally.  It’s very easy – you just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix them up together and steam for 8 hours – it evens makes the house smell festive. Go on try it – it’s better than buying one!

This pudding needs steaming for 8 hours so don’t start making it in the evening!

  • 3 cups of mixed dried fruit (Green raisins, raisins, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, sultanas and currants)
  • 5 dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ large cooking apple, diced
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 2 slices wholemeal bread, breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup veg suet
  • ¾ cup muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • ½ large orange, juice and zest
  • ½ lemon, juice and zest
  • ¼ pint brandy

Mix everything well in a bowl then transfer to a greased 2 pint Pyrex bowl. Cover with greaseproof paper (put a pleat in it so it can expand) then tie with string to secure the paper. Cover with foil and tie again with a string handle so you can lift it in and out of the pan. Strand in two inches of boing water in a pan for 8 hours. On the day, heat for 1 ½ hours.

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Vegan Turkey

I made Miyoko Schinner’s UnTurkey! It has to be the strangest thing I have ever cooked and I’m not sure I’ll do it again for a while but unless my good friends are liars… (and I am sure they are not as they don’t usually hold back if they don’t like something) it was a real hit! One of them peered into the oven and shouted “Oh my God! It’s even got an arse!”.


Miyoko’s UnTurkey


Seasoning mix

  • 2 cups Nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tsp tarragon
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 tsp sage
  • 4 tsp celery seeds
  • 4 tsp thyme
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp onion powderBlend to a fine seasoning powder.
For the turkey mix:
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 tbs soya sauce
  • ¼ cup gram flour
  • ¼ cup seasoning mix
  • 4 cups vital wheat gluten flour
  1. Mix well BEFORE adding water
  2. Add water and mix with a spoon then by hand
  3. Put on a greased baking tray and pre-bake for 30 mins at 180°
  4. Simmer for one hour in large pan with water plus ½ cup seasoning and ⅓ cup soya sauce
  5. Taste broth to check it is seasoned enough

This is the ‘boiled’ turkey

For the stuffing:
  • ½ cup rapeseed/olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Medium bowl of chunky breadcrumbs (toasted ciabatta)
  • 1 tbs sage
  • 1 tbs thyme
  • 1 tbs rosemary
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  1. Sauté the veg for a few minutes
  2. Combine with breadcrumbs in a large bowl
  3. Add herbs and mix well
  4. Add 2-3 cups of the broth from the turkey
  5. Stir and keep adding stock until breadcrumbs are moist
  6. You can add cranberries/ chestnuts… whatever you want
  7. Take the turkey out and cool
  8. Cut a section off the base of the turkey, slice through it and fan it out to for a new base
  9. Slice through the middle of the remaining bit – not cutting all the way – then open like a roof on a house and place on the base
For the turkey skin:
  • Yuba
  • ¼ cup of seasoning mix
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup rapeseed oil
  1. Put sheets of yuba in a tray of water and soak for a few minutes to soften
  2. Combine the seasoning mix, wine and oil in a bowl to make a basting liquid
  3. Squeeze out the yuba and place in basting liquid
  4. Take ‘skin’ and lay out in baking dish
  5. Place turkey base on skin
  6. Cover in stuffing – build it up high!
  7. Take the turkey body and place on top of the stuffing
  8. Gather up yuba and cover, baste with the basting liquid
  9. Use second piece of yuba to enrobe the whole turkey ( I had to tie it all up with cotton string as the skin was quite thick and would ‘enrobe’ my turkey!
  10. You can freeze for up to 6 months
  11. Bake for 30-45 minutes
For the gravy:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 tbsp flour
  • Hot broth that the seitan was cooked in
  • Splash white wine
  • Dash of soya sauce
  • Seasoning mix to taste
  1. Make a roux
  2. Add broth
  3. Add wine and soya sauce
  4. Taste and add seasoning mix to taste
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Vegan macarons

This recipe is adapted from one from the wonderful Floral Frosting.

  • ¼ cup of aquafaba
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 1¼ cup of ground almonds
  • ½ cup of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp coloured food gel
  1. Reduce the aquafaba in a small pan over a medium heat until it has reduced to ⅓ of a cup then cool.
  2. Blend the ground almonds until finely ground, then add the icing sugar and blend again until combined.
  3. Whisk the aquafaba with electric balloon whisk until fluffy (around 5 minutes).
  4. Add the sugar (bit by bit) and whisk until the meringue is stiff and glossy (this can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes).
  5. Add the vanilla extract and colour gel and whisk until combined.
  6. Add half the dry ingredients to the meringue mixture and mix, using a spatula and pressing down to remove some of the air from the mixture.
  7. Add the rest of the almond-sugar mix and stir in a circular motion until there are no dry bits left.
  8. Press the batter against the side of the bowl and then scoop up from underneath (This technique is called macaronage). Repeat this 15-20 times, until the batter is thick but slowly drops off the spatula.
  9. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe 1 inch circles onto baking trays lined with grease-proof paper, being careful to pipe from above as opposed to from the side.
  10. Hold each tray at chest level and drop onto the work surface or table three times.
  11. Leave the macarons to dry out for two hours at room temperature.
  12. Place macarons in the oven and set it to just under 100°C.
  13. Bake the macarons for 20 minutes before turning off the oven and leaving them in there for 15 minutes, then open the door and leave them in there for a further 15 minutes.
  14. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the macarons to cool completely on the tray before sandwiching them together with your filling of choice.

You can eat them as they are or fill with a vegan frosting or vegan cream cheese filling of your choice. I made purple macarons and filled them with a simple chocolate frosting made from cocoa, icing sugar and vegan margarine with vanilla extract.


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Halloween Pumpkin Spice Baked Cheesecake and Toffee Pecans

I took a chance and made this cheesecake for a bunch of mates for Halloween (and my birthday which falls on World Vegan Day, the day after Halloween). Why was that risky? Because the last time I made a cheesecake for friends I messed up and used garlic cream cheese. It was inedible so it ended up being used in a great big almighty food fight, we were picking bits out of the floorboards for weeks! This is ironic as the wonderful Donuts and Bolts blog (where I got this recipe and slightly adapted it) is the blog of one of the brilliant master chefs behind the wonderful Mighty Food Fight, a Bristol-based vegan food truck.

I had faith in Donuts and Bolts and went for it! I’m so glad I did… this cheesecake (well actually I made two with this recipe) got more praise than any other I’ve made previously. It was absolutely delicious!!


One for now, and one for Ron…

For the toffee pecans:

  • 200g pecans
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • 0.5 tsp saltFor the cheesecake base

For the biscuit base:

  • 1 ½ packets (375g) of McVities Ginger Nut biscuits
  • 150g Pure Soya Spread
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamonFor the cheesecake layer

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 300g cashew nuts (soaked overnight in a little water)
  • 375g pumpkin puree (make your own by heating shredded pumpkin in a few tbsp. of water)
  • 125g apple sauce (make your own by heating chopped apple in a tbsp. or two or water)
  • 1 pack of silken tofu
  • 1 tub of Tofutti cream cheese (NOT GARLIC!)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 175g white sugar
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ mixed spice
  • ½ tsp salt

First make the biscuit base:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°.
  2. Blend the biscuits in a food processor.
  3. Heat the Pure margarine in a pan until melted.
  4. Stir in the biscuit crumbs and cinnamon.
  5. Press into two 20cm inch loose-based or springform cake tins, use a spatula to smooth flat.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes to firm up and then allow to cool on a cooling rack.

For the cheesecake layer:

  1. This couldn’t be simpler – all you need to do is throw all the ingredients into your blender and blend until you have a smooth creamy consistency. If it’s not a fandango blender, start by blending the nuts until smooth then add all the other stuff.
  2. Taste for spice levels, add more to taste.
  3. Pour over the cooled cheesecake bases (don’t worry if it looks a bit runny – it will firm up!
  4. Bake for 40 minutes at 180°.
  5. Leave to cool completely before serving.
  6. Garnish with toffee pecans.

For the toffee pecans:

  1. Heat the oven at 180° and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Heat all the ingredients except the pecans in a small pan until bubbling and stir for 5-10 mins until it has thickened a bit.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the pecans.
  4. Spread the toffee pecans on the prepared tray, turn off the oven and leave them to cool in it for 30 minutes.
  5. After this time you should have sticky toffee pecans! I made a spider web-type thingy with the leftover toffee and plonked it on top on the cheesecake…
  6. Arrange the pecans either geometrically or hickeldy pickledy on your cheesecake – however you like!
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Green tomato chutney

This is the first time I’ve made chutney and it worked really well! The tomatoes were donated by a lady who used to live next door to me, she pops round now and again… I will give her a jar, hope she likes it!

  • 1.2kg green tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 450g flame raisins
  • 50g unsulphured dried apricots, chopped
  • 500g muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ chilli powder
  • 1 whole dried cayenne pepper
  • 1 litre malt vinegar

Put all the ingredients in a large stainless steel preserving pan (or heavy-bottomed pan) and bring to the boil. Cook on a gentle rolling boil for an hour then reduce the heat and simmer until thick. This might take 2-3 hours. You can tell when it is done when you can make a channel with a wooden spoon across its surface, if it leaves the channel for a few seconds without being filled by vinegar, it is ready. You are looking for a gloopy texture.

Using a jam funnel, transfer into hot clean jars that have been heated to 100°C for 20 minutes. When you put the lid on they will self-seal.

Don’t eat the pickle for three months!

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Baked Beans, Spaghetti Hoops and Fish Fingers – the food of kings!

MoFo tomatowebIt’s cold and rainy and there’s a snow drift outside your door! What are you going to make using the ingredients you have?


Spaghetti hoops on toast – obviously!

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Vegan sausage, beans and mash

Share your favourite cuisine…

I just got back from a lovely relaxing holiday in France with friends but eating out was a challenge. Chips and salad is often the only option. I have had just iceberg lettuce and black olives before! If you explain to a waiter or restaurateur that you are a vegan, they tend to shrug like that’s your bad luck. Bof! I’m not going to fade away any time soon so it probably does me good but I do look forward to something tasty when I get home. This time that we had sausage, beans and mash! Comfort food for a chilly autumn evening.

Some years ago I stayed in London for a month living out of a suitcase in a hotel near to the hospital my Mum was in. I lived on takeaway salads and snacks. Then I was offered a room in a house for a weekend with a kitchen and a fancy bathroom designed by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. When my husband visited, he offered to cook me anything I wanted – anything at all – I asked for sausage, beans and mash. It remains one of the most memorable meals I have ever had. You just can’t beat good, hearty, comfort food made with love. Thanks Marc xxx

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