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
- Reduce the aquafaba in a small pan over a medium heat until it has reduced to ⅓ of a cup then cool.
- Blend the ground almonds until finely ground, then add the icing sugar and blend again until combined.
- Whisk the aquafaba with electric balloon whisk until fluffy (around 5 minutes).
- Add the sugar (bit by bit) and whisk until the meringue is stiff and glossy (this can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes).
- Add the vanilla extract and colour gel and whisk until combined.
- 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.
- Add the rest of the almond-sugar mix and stir in a circular motion until there are no dry bits left.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hold each tray at chest level and drop onto the work surface or table three times.
- Leave the macarons to dry out for two hours at room temperature.
- Place macarons in the oven and set it to just under 100°C.
- 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.
- 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.
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!!
INGREDIENTS FOR TWO CHEESECAKES!
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:
- Heat the oven to 180°.
- Blend the biscuits in a food processor.
- Heat the Pure margarine in a pan until melted.
- Stir in the biscuit crumbs and cinnamon.
- Press into two 20cm inch loose-based or springform cake tins, use a spatula to smooth flat.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes to firm up and then allow to cool on a cooling rack.
For the cheesecake layer:
- 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.
- Taste for spice levels, add more to taste.
- Pour over the cooled cheesecake bases (don’t worry if it looks a bit runny – it will firm up!
- Bake for 40 minutes at 180°.
- Leave to cool completely before serving.
- Garnish with toffee pecans.
For the toffee pecans:
- Heat the oven at 180° and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- 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.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the pecans.
- Spread the toffee pecans on the prepared tray, turn off the oven and leave them to cool in it for 30 minutes.
- 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…
- Arrange the pecans either geometrically or hickeldy pickledy on your cheesecake – however you like!
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!
It’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!
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
Posted in Essays
What Frida Kahlo would eat if she were vegan…
According to the chef and author of My Sweet Mexico, Fany Gerson, these coconut-stuffed limes were one of artist Frida Kahlo’s favourite sweets. You make them by scooping the flesh out of the limes and gently boiling the skins in sugar. The coconut is boiled separately with sugar and water then stuffed inside the soft lime skins. Luckily the recipe doesn’t need veganising as it is vegan anyway!
Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 12 medium-large limes, rinsed well
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- Green food colouring (optional)
- 2 cups shredded fresh coconut
- ½ cup water
- Bring two litres of water to a boil over a high heat, add 1 tsp of the baking soda and then add the limes.
- Simmer until slightly tender (10-15 mins).
- Remove the limes from the water and cool.
- Make a small incision in the top of each lime with a sharp paring knife and carefully scrape out the flesh, making sure you don’t tear the rind. Keep the flesh for another recipe of a Margarita!
- Put the skins back in the pan, add cold water to cover and stir in the remaining tsp baking soda.
- Bring to a boil, strain and repeat (without baking soda) three more times to remove the bitterness.
- Return the limes to the pan, add cold water to cover, then stir in 1 ½ cups of sugar and a few drops of food colouring.
- Cook over medium heat stirring, until the syrup has thickened to the consistency of maple syrup (15-20 mins).
- Remove from heat, cool completely in the syrup, then transfer the limes to a wire rack and dry.
- Combine the coconut, the remaining cup of sugar and the ½ cup water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the coconut is soft. Let cool until it is safe to handle.
- Fill the limes with the coconut and let cool completely.
Serve on a pretty plate as a dessert after a Mexican dinner party!
Posted in Cakes
Tagged lime, Mexico
Autumn Equinox challenge…
An equinox is an astronomical event in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes the centre of the Sun. Equinoxes occurs twice a year; 20 March and 23 September this year. At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. Before the Southward equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterwards, it rises and sets more and more to the south.
In China the Mid-Autumn Festival, known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated around the time of the September equinox. It celebrates the abundance of the summer’s harvest. One of the main foods is a mooncake filled with lotus, sesame seeds and dried fruit. Families would sit in the garden with teacups placed on a stone table, they would pour tea and chat, waiting for the moment when the full moon’s reflection appeared in their tea. Food offerings would be placed on an altar set up in the garden, including apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates, melons, oranges, and pomelos.
One of the first decorations purchased for the celebration table is a clay statue of the Jade Rabbit. In Chinese folklore, the Jade Rabbit is an animal that lives on the moon. Offerings of yellow beans and cockscomb flowers are made to the Jade Rabbit.
I’m fresh out of mooncakes, lotus and cockscomb flowers but I do have some rather pokey Schezuan Peppercorns so I made Hong Sao Tofu. A welcoming and warming dish for the cool evening of the Autumn Equinox.
- 1 large tsp Schezuan peppercorns, dry roasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4cm fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp soya sauce
- 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 2 small or 1 large dried red chillies
- 1 Lapsang Souchong teabag
- ½ block tofu, chopped into cubes
- 2 tsp roasted sesame seed oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 head broccoli, chopped
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- Put all the ingredients (except the tofu and veg) in a pan with a splash of boiling water and heat gently for at least one hour (take the teabag out after 20 mins or as soon as you can taste the smoky flavour in your sauce or it will overwhelm everything else).
- Continue cooking (adding water as needed) but don’t let it boil… it will reduce over time to a thick, glossy, tasty sauce!
- In the meantime, fry the tofu in sesame seed oil until golden brown and then set aside.
- 15 minutes before you want to eat, stir-fry the vegetables in a dash of sesame seed oil in a hot wok.
- As they are beginning to soften throw in the tofu and your sauce (you obviously have to strain it first!).
- Then cook everything together, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is as soft as you like it.
- Serve with jasmine rice.
Make the sauce…
and light some candles!