Vegan Oaty Cranberry & Coconut Cookies

flora-dairy-free-spread

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There’s a misconception that dairy-free spread tastes weird. I’m not sure why people think this – I mean, yes, it’s not quite as rich and creamy as full-fat dairy butter but it’s usually made with plant oil and there’s nothing weird about that. Flora Freedom is a new dairy-free spread that tastes the same as the regular spread in the Flora range but is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Made from rapeseed oil and sustainable palm oil, it contains 60% less saturated fat than butter and is free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavours. And you can do whatever it is you do with the dairy Flora: frying, baking, spreading, or just eating straight from the tub (really? You do that? Ick).

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Vegan Carrot Cupcakes

Vegan carrot cake cupcakesIf you’re one of the tens of thousands of people who receive a weekly vegetable box delivery, you probably spend a lot of time wondering what to do with carrots.

I’ve blitzed them in smoothies, dunked them in hummus, and mushroom pate, cooked them in stews and bologneses but most of the time, because they go limp quickly, a lot of them end up in the compost. Last week after yet again receiving a big bunch of carrots, I decided to do something more ‘carroty’ with them and use them as the basis for something, rather than just added to something to simply use them up.

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Strawberry and Coconut Energy Bars

strawberry-coconut-flapjacks

I took part in a 78-mile cycling event yesterday and, although I’d bought a Bounce Energy Ball and a Clif Bar to take with me, because I’ve got a bigger cycling event coming up in a couple of weeks and a) shop-bought products are expensive (the Bounce Energy Ball was £1-something and the Clif Bar was a smidge under £2); and b) I wanted to try a variety of different energy bars to see which I liked best, I wanted to make some of my own.

These strawberry and coconut energy bars are based on this Sunshine Bars recipe and they got me happily through 63 miles of cycling. I then had the Clif Bar, felt sick and abandoned the last twenty miles of the ride and got the train home instead. There’s something to be said for the ‘never try anything new on race day’ advice. But if you want something homemade with the right nutrients to get you through a long sporting event (don’t confuse protein bars with energy bars – protein bars contain a high amount of protein and are best after exercise to help repair the muscles, whereas energy bars contain a high amount of carbohydrate to fuel your muscles during exercise), these bars are for you. They taste amazing, too. I used dried strawberries from Urban Fruit because their dried fruit contains fruit and nothing else. I was shocked a few weeks ago after buying a bag of dried cranberries, to find out that cranberries were only about 40% of the ingredients.

Unfortunately, they’re not vegan, as most rice crispies contain Vitamin D, which is made from lanolin – a secretion from sheep skin, found in wool (and now I’ve just typed ‘a secretion from sheep skin’, I feel as sick as if I’d just eaten another Clif Bar) and I also bunged in a bag of Munchy Seeds honey-roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds that I had lying around in the fruit bowl that never contains fruit. However, vegans need not despair – after finding out that all major supermarkets’ own rice crispies contain Vitamin D, I’ve found a vegan-friendly brand: Kallo Organic Wholegrain Breakfast Puffs, that you can get from Ocado or Holland & Barrett.

Strawberry and coconut energy bars

Strawberry and Coconut Energy Bars
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Energy Bars
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 50g dried strawberries or other dried fruit, chopped
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 25g puffed rice cereal
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 25g cashews or other nuts, chopped
  • 25g sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
  • 50g demerara sugar
  • 60g Golden Syrup
  • 50g butter or spread
Instructions
  1. Mix the fruit, oats, cereal, nuts, seeds and coconut into a large bowl and mix well
  2. Gently heat the sugar, syrup and butter/spread in a saucepan until the butter has melted, then simmer for a couple of minutes
  3. Stir the syrupy mixture into the dry mix and combine thoroughly
  4. Tip into a 8" square tin and press down firmly (I do this by putting a piece of baking paper over the mixture, then rolling a tin backwards and forwards on top of it)
  5. Bake in the oven at 180C for about ten minutes, or until lightly browning at the edges
  6. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up
  7. Cut into 9 pices

 


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Healthy Vegan Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Healthy vegan chocolate and walnut brownies

I love brownies but I don’t make them very often because then I have to see exactly all the rubbish that goes into them. Healthy vegan brownies though sound at best an oxymoron and, at worst, a really bad idea.

But Discount Supplements wanted to send me some flax seeds and cacao nibs with which to make brownies and so it’d have been rude to say no, wouldn’t it? (Plus, I keep seeing recipes I want to make containing flax seeds and cocoa nibs and it’d save me buying any myself.)

I’m not going to lie and say, ‘OH MY GOD YOU MUST TRY THESE BROWNIES YOU WON’T BELIEVE THEY’RE HEALTHY THEY’RE JUST LIKE NORMAL REALLY UNHEALTHY BROWNIES’ because I’d be lying. And anyway, I don’t actually speak like that.

But, if you want a perfectly acceptable brownie that isn’t *too* unhealthy, then give these a go.

I added walnuts to my vegan brownies because – as is my usual reason for using something – that’s what I had in but you can use cashews or almonds or whatever you fancy, or just leave them out completely.

Healthy vegan chocolate and walnut brownies

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Brownies Recipe
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 60g self-raising flour
  • 35g walnuts, chopped
  • 25g cacao nibs
  • ⅛ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 170C
  2. Line an 8" square tin with baking paper
  3. Mix the flaxseed with 3 tbsp of water and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
  4. Melt the chocolate with 50ml water in a saucepan on a low heat, then allow to cool slightly
  5. Put the flour, walnuts, cocoa nibs, baking powder and salt in bowl and stir to remove any lumps
  6. Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture and beat well until smooth, making sure the sugar is dissolved
  7. Stir in the flaxseed mixture, vanilla extract and the flour. Stir well and pour into the prepared tin
  8. Bake for 35 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean
  9. Allow to cool in the tin, then cut into squares

Please note the nutritional information above is approximate and will vary depending on your own ingredients

Please note the nutritional information above is approximate and will vary depending on your own ingredients

 

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Vegan Banana and Cashew Muffins Recipe

Vegan banana and cashew muffins

When you’ve got bananas going black in your fruit bowl, there’s only one thing to do with them – yep, make banana bread. Or, in my case, make vegan banana and cashew muffins.

These muffins are quick and easy to make and I used cashews because that’s what I had in but you can add any nuts or fruit you like instead, such as raisins or walnuts.

I had a bit of a baking urge at the weekend because as well as these muffins, I also made vegan brownies containing flax seed and cacao nibs, which I’ll blog about tomorrow.

Vegan banana and cashew muffins

Vegan Banana and Cashew Muffins Recipe
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 75g vegetable oil
  • 50g cashews
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Mash the bananas and mix well with the oil and sugar
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and mixed spice and stir well, mixing everything together
  4. Stir in the cashews
  5. Spoon the batter into muffin cases in a muffin tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes

 

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Vegan Oast Cakes Recipe

Vegan oast cakes

At the end of last year, I took part in a wonderful free food photography course – 30 Days to Better Food Photos. When it ended, I didn’t want to lose motivation, so I created the Beginner’s Food Photography Critique Group on Facebook so those of us who wanted to, could keep sharing our photos and get feedback on them (it’s not just for people who took the course – anyone can join). Each month we set a challenge to photograph something on a theme and this month’s theme was regional/local.

I googled for traditional Kent recipes and fancied making a gypsy tart but decided that with evaporated milk being the key ingredient, it wouldn’t easily be veganised. Then I came across a recipe for oast cakes, which are named after the round pointy-topped hop-drying houses you can see all over the Kent countryside and the oast cakes were eaten after the crop had been gathered. I’d never heard of oast cakes but, as I’m from London, not Kent, maybe that wasn’t too surprising, so I asked The Meat Eater if he’d heard of them but he hadn’t either.

As you can see from the photo, they’re similar to Welsh Cakes and taste like them too, although oast cakes don’t contain spices or egg. What oast cakes do traditionally contain is lard but that’s easily veganised by using vegetable shortening instead. I’ve got to admit, I didn’t know what shortening was but a quick investigation told me that I could use suet or Trex. I thought Trex was something from the 70s but you can still buy it in Tesco, which is what I did as Trex is pure fat, while suet is a mixture of fat and flour.

These vegan oast cakes are fried, but I can’t see any reason why they couldn’t be baked instead.

Vegan Oast Cakes Recipe
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g vegetable shortening (e.g. Trex), diced
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 75g sultanas or currants
  • 45ml vegetable oil
  • 25g dairy-free spread (I used Vitalite)
Instructions
  1. Put the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl, then rub the vegetable shortening in thoroughly
  2. Stir in the sugar and the sultanas or currants, then mix with 3-4 tsbp water to make a soft dough
  3. Roll out on a lightly floured surface until 1cm thick. Cut out 12 rounds using a 5cm cutter
  4. Heat the oil and dairy-free spread in a frying pan and fry each oast cake for about 3 minutes on each side until golden, then drain on kitchen roll

Here are some more traditional dishes from my fellow food bloggers:

Welsh Pancakes by Tin and Thyme (vegetarian)
Cornish Splits by Tin and Thyme (vegetarian)
Bara Brith by Natural Kitchen Adventures (vegetarian)

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Recipe: Easy Vegan Gingerbread Men

Vegan gingerbread men

As you know, I’m not a great cake or cookie person (actually, that’s a lie – I love cookies, I just don’t like making them because then I see exactly what goes into them and then I’m thinking HOW MANY CALORIES?)

But then Discount Supplements asked me to make something healthy for Christmas, using one of their products. They gave me a list of recipes to choose from and I chose the vegan gingerbread men because a) it looked the easiest; and b) I fancied playing with men-shaped cookie cutters.

Vegan gingerbread man and hot chocolate
Yes, those are vegan marshmallows in the hot chocolate

I didn’t quite follow the provided recipe (and when I say ‘quite’, I mean ‘disregarded 99% of it’) so this recipe is how I made the gingerbread men, using the ingredients I had available (e.g. I used applesauce as an egg replacer instead of a flax egg, wholemeal flour instead of gluten-free flour and Golden Syrup instead of molasses).

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a gingerbread man before (not sure I’ve had a ginger man before – bread or otherwise, actually, but let’s not go there, eh?) so I don’t know if these are how they’re supposed to be, but if gingerbread men are supposed to be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, then I’m the boss at making gingerbread men.

Vegan gingerbread men

Recipe: Easy Vegan Gingerbread Men
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 350g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g dairy-free spread
  • 175g demerara sugar
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 4 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • ⅛ cup almond butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Beat the applesauce, Golden Syrup and almond butter together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out and knead until smooth. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour a chopping board or worktop and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 0.5cm.
  5. Using cookie cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  6. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until a light golden-brown.
  7. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
  8. Either use a skewer to make eyes and buttons, or decorate with icing.

Thanks to Discount Supplements for supplying me with the almond butter used in this recipe.

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Recipe: Quick & Easy Vegan Flapjacks

Vegan flapjacks

What I really fancied making yesterday were the chilli cheese flapjacks I made a while back. I wanted to veganise them though and wondered if swapping the cheese for Violife vegan cheese and the butter for Vitalite dairy-free spread would work but then when it came to replacing the eggs, I doubted if applesauce (which can be used to replace eggs in cakes, muffins and other bready stuff) would do the trick. I don’t know why I thought this as I’m no scientist but it sounded dubious so I decided against it. [It has just occurred to me while typing this, that chia seeds would have been a good replacement but I didn’t have any in and I wouldn’t have spent £7, or whatever they cost, on a packet just to make some flapjacks anyway.]

Vegan flapjacks

But, I still wanted to make some flapjacks and although I knew vegan ones wouldn’t be as good as the ones my friend Cassie makes (hers are full-on dairy and completely delicious if a tad unhealthy. When I say ‘tad’, I obviously mean, ‘totally’), I reckoned they’d do to quash my craving.

Vegan flapjacks

These flapjacks are quick and easy to make and are oaty, buttery and moist, just like a flapjack should be. I reckon next time, I’ll double the quantities and make them thicker.

Vegan flapjacks

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quick & Easy Vegan Flapjacks
 
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Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 125g porridge oats
  • 60g dairy-free spread (I used Vitalite)
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
Instructions
  1. Melt the dairy-free spread in a saucepan, stir in the rest of the ingredients, then press firmly into an 8" square tin.
  2. Bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are turning brown.
  3. Score gently, then leave to cool.
  4. Cut into 9 pieces.


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Recipe: Vegan Cheese and Onion Muffins

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

I’m not one to value myself on the number of ‘likes’ a photo of food gets on Facebook but I must admit to being rather pleased when the photo of these vegan cheese and onion muffins received almost 1,000 likes on the What Fat Vegans Eat Facebook page. I’m aware some of you may be thinking, ‘1,000 likes? Pah, that’s nothing – get over yourself!’ but I’m liking my likes so there.

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

I got the recipe from Kirsten’s Kitchen and, although Kirsten calls her creation ‘scoffins’, I’m sticking with ‘muffins’ because that’s what mine look like. Kirsten’s recipe also says it makes 12 muffins but I didn’t see that until after I’d squeezed all the batter into a six-hole tray.

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

After I posted my pic on Facebook, a few people who had commented on it went off and made their own versions; some following the recipe exactly and others substituting ingredients for ingredients they already had in, e.g. mushrooms instead of cheese, parsley instead of spinach and – a suggestion I loved – vegan sausage. Others suggested alternatives to apple sauce (which I used) as an egg replacer. Who’d have thought a batch of muffins would generate so much interest?

Don’t expect these muffins to be light and airy – they’re dense and doughy but, if dense and doughy is your thing, you’ll love these.

Recipe: Vegan Cheese and Onion Muffins
 
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Adapted from a recipe at Kirsten's Kitchen
Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1½ cups soya milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sunflower oil
  • ¼ cup apple sauce (or other egg replacer)
  • 1 cup fresh chopped spinach
  • ½ cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used Violife)
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped spring onion
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients and add the spinach, cheese and spring onion
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and stir well
  5. Pour into a greased muffin tin
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or just turning golden

 


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Recipe: Oat, Date and Sultana Energy Balls

Oat, date and sultana balls

I love these energy balls. They’re healthy, use only a few ingredients, are made in minutes and don’t require any baking. As an added bonus, you’ve probably already got the ingredients in your cupboard, so there’s not even any need to go out shopping.

I originally got the idea from Ani Phyo’s book, Raw Food Desserts (although her recipe uses raisins, while I used sultanas), but the mixture was too dry to form into balls, so I added the coconut oil which made it stick together while giving it an extra dimension with the coconut taste.

Recipe: Oat, Date and Sultana Energy Balls
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Snacks
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 10 balls
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until combined
  2. Roll into balls
  3. Can be eaten immediately but will firm up if left in the fridge

 


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