Chocolate four ways vegan cupcakes

Theme:  Chocolate – Today is Chocolate Cupcake Day, but you can make anything you want with chocolate!

These four-way chocolate cupcakes are made with a chocolate sponge cupcake recipe adapted from the brilliant Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. They contain chocolate chips and are iced with chocolate and mint frosting and decorated with chocolate buttons. That should satisfy anyone’s chocolate craving!

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  • 240 ml soya milk
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 150 g sugar
  • 80 ml rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 110 g plain flour
  • 40 g cocoa
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50 g dark mint chocolate, roughly chopped into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 180°C and put 12 muffin cases into your cake tins. Whisk up the soya milk with the vinegar and leave for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla and peppermint extract then whisk up until foamy. Sift in the dry ingredients, bit by bit, keeping the mixture light and airy. Fold in the chocolate chunks then spoon into the liners so that they are three-quarters full and bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. Transfer to a cooling rack. Ice with frosting made from vegan marg and icing sugar and cocoa… I used half green, half chocolate brown. There’s loads of videos on YouTube showing how to do this. I decorated them with dark chocolate shards I made by spreading chocolate thinly onto baking paper then gently rolling it up into a roll and chilling it in the fridge. When you unroll it, it will crack and break into shards.

MoFo peas

 

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Vegan Limoncello Drizzle cupcakes

Theme: Let’s get boozy! – Food involving booze, like beer brats, Welsh rarebit or a boozy dessert. Feel free to make a non-alcoholic version if you prefer.

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy and Sicily. Traditionally, it is made from the zest of Sorrento lemons.  To make it, you need to steep the lemon peel (without the pith), in grain alcohol until the oil is released. You then add sugar syrup. Most lemons will produce a reasonable limoncello and you can make it yourself with vodka.

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I made these Limoncello Drizzle Cupcakes by adding limoncello to the lemon syrup for a boozy grown-up version of these sweet yummy cakes.

  • 80ml rapeseed oil
  • 150g sugar
  • 60ml soya yoghurt
  • 80ml soya milk
  • 60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 40g ground almonds

For the syrup and icing:

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 20 tsps Limoncello
  • 1 large tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar

Whisk the oil, sugar, yoghurt and milk together in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract and whisk again briefly. Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt then add in two batches to the wet mix. Stir in the grounds almonds. Divide into 12 muffin or 24 cupcake cases and bake at 180°C for 18-20 minutes.

While they are cooking prepare your syrup. Heat the juice of one lemon with the caster sugar until dissolved – don’t boil. Set aside and add the Limoncello when it’s cool. When the cakes are cooked, while they are still warm, poke each several times with a skewer then spoon on one or two dessert spoons of syrup. Set aside to cool. Make your icing by adding the icing sugar to what’s left of the syrup. You are looking for a soft but not too runny texture. Spoon the icing onto the cakes allowing a little to dribble over the edges. There you have it!

 

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Apocalypse soup

Theme: Survival food – There’s a zombie apocalypse!  What can you make from just canned or foraged food?

red sun

It’s funny that this is the theme for today as this morning, the sky turned sickly yellow and the sun went bright red as hurricane Ophelia skimmed passed the UK, whipping up sand from the Sahara. This photo I took from the window at my work doesn’t do it justice… I’ve never seen anything quite like it and for a few hours it felt like the End of Days!

My Apocalypse soup can be made using kitchen cupboard ingredients on an open fire or a camp stove if you have no power! Most of the cooking time is spent waiting so it’s a good one to make while you board up the windows and collect weapons to kill zombies with!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you have an onion, chop it up and fry it in some olive oil in a medium pan until soft. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, it doesn’t matter. Add some garlic, thinly sliced, and cook for just a minute or two (don’t burn the garlic or it will taste bitter). Throw a couple of large handfuls of red lentils into the pan and stir for 1 minute before adding enough boiling water to cover them by an inch. Stir in 2-3 teaspoons of Bouillon and simmer for 20 mins or so until the lentils are really soft. Top up the water if you need to, keep the lentil just covered. When the lentils are soft add a can of tomatoes with some freshly ground pepper and continue to simmer until it looks like the right consistency for blending (another 10 mins). Whizz it up with a handheld blender or a strong whisk if you have no power! Serve with a swirl of long-life vegan cream, or if you don’t have a carton of that in the cupboard, a teaspoon of pesto will do nicely. Good luck surviving!

MoFo carrots

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Sunday Spicy!

Theme: SUNDAY Spicy! – Talk us through your spice rack…

The spice shelf in my kitchen has most things you might want, please do let me know if you think I’m missing anything!

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Allspice, asafoetida, basil, black peppercorns, black cardamom, cardamom pods, celery salt, chilli powder, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek, garam masala, garlic powder, ginger, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander, harissa, kala namak (black) salt, liquid smoke, lime leaves, mace, mint, mixed spice, mustard seeds, nutmeg, onion seeds, oregano, pink peppercorns, ras el hanout, saffron, schezwan pepper, smoked paprika, star anise, sumac, smoked paprika, thyme, turmeric, tarragon, sea salt, white pepper corns, zatar. By the way, the list may be ordered alphabetically, but the shelf isn’t!

MoFo peas

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Food for Free

Theme: Repurposing food – Show us what you do with mushroom stems, stale end bits of bread, carrot tops, etc.

Lettuce 2

This is what I did with the bottom of my little gem lettuce! I only got enough new lettuce for a sandwich, but hey, it was food for free!

MoFo mushroom

 

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Mexican Day of the Dead Cupcakes

Theme: Sell yourself – If you were going to market a food you make, what would it be?  How would you package it, and who would buy it?  (Or if you have already done this, tell us about the creative process.)

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I have sold my cakes before at a fundraiser Day of the Dead-themed party. I am happy to say they sold out! They took a long time to make but the party was in aid of raising funds for the family of a friend of mine who died much too early – so they were made with love.

Makes 12 muffin-sized cupcakes.

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 cup soya milk
  • ¼ cup rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ pack fondant icing and colouring
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put 12 muffin cases into your cake tins.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the lime juice, zest, soya milk, oil, tequila, vanilla and sugar.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking soda and powder, and add the salt.
  4. Whisk until smooth then dived into the cupcake cases – they should be just over two-thirds full.
  5. Bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
  6. Transfer to a cooling rack.

To ice, roll out fondant icing and cut skull shapes. Use a fork to indent teeth marks and paint with brush and black icing. Cut little circles in a different coloured icing (I used a pen lid as a cutter) and decorate with piped coloured icing as you like and use little silver balls for the eyes.

Jacknife

MoFo beets

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Bristol Sweet Mart

 Theme: Grocery store tips and tricks

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If you like cooking with herbs and spices, my tip is to swerve the supermarkets and head to your nearest Asian grocery store – the herbs and spices at my local shop, Bristol Sweet Mart, and bigger, cheaper and most importantly, better!

Bristol Sweet Mart was established in Bristol in 1978 by the late Mr Kassam Majothi, a Ugandan refugee who fled with his family to the UK during the notorious reign of Idi Amin.

Mr Majothi started the business in the Easton area of Bristol with a small shop selling Indian sweet meats and home-made foods. Since then the business has grown and the shop has spread to occupy a number of properties on St. Marks Road. 

The Sweet Mart has a retail section, a wholesale shop and a Deli. They sell specialist Indian foods and spices as well as a range of fresh produce and groceries and a great selection of vegan foods too. It’s the one-stop shop for any obscure or unusual ingredient from asafoetida to zatar! It stocks 8,000 different products across the store. It really is an Aladdin’s cave of foods!

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MoFo peas

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