Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Gingerbread Popcorn

While I was trekking through the internet trying to find a good recipe for candy cane popcorn, I managed to stumble across another one for gingerbread popcorn and knew I was going to be making it as soon as possible. I've tried making actual gingerbread a few times and it always goes horribly wrong, so I was a bit worried about attempting this. Luckily it turned out perfectly, it's crunchy like toffee popcorn, but with a hint of gingerbready spice. I will definitely be making more for actual Christmas (not just the fake one that I appear to be having on my own at the moment). We based it on this recipe, but again changed a few bits and made it metric. 

Makes a lot of popcorn!

75g Popcorn kernels
110g butter
175g brown sugar
45g black treacle
45g golden syrup
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
A pinch of ground nutmeg
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

  1. Prepare 2 large baking trays by covering them in tin foil and spraying with cooking spray (I used good old fry light) and preheat the oven to 120 degrees. 
  2. Pop your popcorn according to the instructions on the packet and leave it in a really large bowl (you need loads of space for mixing, if you only have small bowls do it in batches)
  3. Then pop the treacle, golden syrup, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in to a sauce pan and melt the mixture on a low heat until well combined. 
  4. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes, after 5 minutes remove from the heat and add the baking soda. The mixture will foam up a bit so make sure you stir it in well. 
  5. Pour the mixture over the popcorn in the bowl and mix it up really well, making sure it's well covered. 
  6. Spread the popcorn on to the baking trays and pop in to the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, when cooked, give it an extra stir then leave to cool completely. 
  7. Once cool break up any large chunks and enjoy! (If you don't eat it all straight away, it should last up to a week)

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Candy Cane Popcorn

I am so ridiculously excited about Christmas, it's not even funny! I know it's only September, but Christmas is in full swing for me! We've had Christmas training in my shop this week, which is one of the most magical times of the year. We sit around, in our jammies and Christmas jumpers and unveil the new christmas range. We also tell people to bring food that reminds them of Christmas, I took mulled cider last year (I know that's not technically food, but who doesn't love mulled cider).

So this year I wanted to bring something super christmasy, but a bit different to mince pies and Christmas cake. Then I remembered I'd seen candy cane popcorn on Pinterest (I have a serious addiction to that site). I love popcorn, I had an addiction to popcorn last year similar to the avocado one I went through this year and even asked Mr Hef just to get me a tone of gourmet popcorn kernels last Christmas (which is exactly what I got, I still haven't eaten them all!). So my kitchen assistant Mike made a long due appearance, we donned our floral aprons and based our popcorn on this recipe. I've tweaked it a bit to make it even yummier and easier for my metric brain to understand!

Candy Cane Popcorn

70g popcorn kernels 
200g candy canes
350g white chocolate
  1. Pop your kernels according to the directions and put to one side, then prepare a large greaseproof sheet to put your popcorn on when it's coated.
  2. Stick the candy canes in to a food processor and blitz until you have candy cane dust (this makes the scariest noise ever).
  3. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, then add 2/3 of the candy cane dust and mix well. 
  4. Put your popcorn in a very large bowl (you need lots of space to mix) then pour the melted chocolate candy cane mixture over to popcorn and stir it really well until its evenly covered. 
  5. Spread the coated popcorn over the greaseproof paper and leave it to cool until completely set. 
  6. If you don't eat it straight away it will keep in an airtight container for about a week. 
We made gingerbread popcorn too! Post to follow soon :) 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green

I've eaten here 3 times now (I thought it was way more times, then realised that I had just ordered more than one meal on each occasion) and each time I never get around to blogging about it, probably because the food is so good and the portion sizes are so big, each visit puts me in to some kind of food induced coma. This time vegan Emma and I decided to be a bit more refined and only order one thing each. As I said I've tried a few things off of the menu, the halloumi wrap, a calzone with vegetables and jalapenos and of course the nachos (if you didn't already know, I love nachos).

This time I wanted to try something different, but as soon as I saw the menu I couldn't resist the nachos. Luckily vegan Emma is a genius and suggested we get two different things and share, so I went for the vegan nachos and emma went for the facon burger.  Both were incredible, the nachos are the best I've tried, covered in vegan sour cream, refried beans, fresh salsa and jalapenoes (there's also the option to have them with vegan cheese). And the burger, oh the burger, since discovering a new love for facon I was well up for trying it on top of a veggie burger. It didn't disappoint, I'm not even sure what the burger was made of, but it was vegan and super tasty!

I full on love this cafe, if it was closer I'd be in there all the time. The staff are always lovely and the chef even gave me a free flapjack because they'd run out of vegan cheese! So if you're in the area, give it a try!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Cinnamon Sugar, Banana and Mango Pancakes

This morning I made myself a plan, an actual written out plan of what I should do, because If I didn't I knew I'd just stay in bed watching TV on my laptop and not doing anything all day. My plan was to clean my house, go for a run and something else that I can't remember and quite clearly have not done. I went on a mad cleaning spree last night (who doesn't love falling asleep to the smell of bleach) and I actually got up and went for a run. So I decided I definitely deserved a treat, a pancake shaped treat. I had some amazing mango and cinnamon crepes at Lushfest that I've been craving ever since and vegan banana and oat pancakes keep popping up on Pinterest; so I decided to combine the two together in to some monstrous cinnamony, sugary, bananay, mangoy, oaty pancakes. They tasted so good and I feel like they might be a bit healthier than normal ones (am I kidding myself?) AND best of all, because of the cinnamon they smelled a little bit like CHRISTMAS (which is nearly here you know). I based it on this lovely recipe here, but made a few little changes.

Makes 6 fat pancakes

100g oats
80g whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
350ml Almond milk (vegan Emma's got me addicted)
2 ripe bananas
1 mango sliced in to nice little chunks
4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Stick all of the ingredients in to a blender (excluding the banana) and give it a good old blitz. 
  2. Use one of those cake spatular things to get the mix off to the sides, then add the banana and blend some more. 
  3. When it's all lovely and smooth, heat some oil in a frying pan and pour a ladle full in.
  4. Cook on one side until it starts to bubble, then flip it over and cook on the other side. 
  5. Stack them up and enjoy! They're good on they're own, but even better with maple syrup and berries.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Fausage Rolls

Do you ever forget things? Things like turning the lights off in your car, taking your money out of the cash point and baking things? Well I obviously do because all of these things have happened to me more than once. I totally forgot about these fake sausage rolls until I was scrolling through my phone pics in a recent moment of boredom/procrastination. You may think this means that they we'rent very nice, since the were so easily forgotten, they really were, I just have the worst memory in the world. I made them for my Nan and Granddads 50th wedding anniversary party, mainly so I could join in on some good old party food eating. I also made them a cake, but I don't really want to focus on that as once again Mike did most of the work while I bossed him around/sprayed everything in my surrounding area gold and threw icing in the bin in a fit of rage (icing cakes is hard).

Ever since I started my love affair with ASDA's Lincolnshire sausage mix, I've been thinking about all of the different ways I could use it. One of them had to be sausage rolls, I can't remember the last time I've eaten one! They are very, very easy, almost too easy, especially if you use pre made pastry. I decided to be a little bit more of a domestic godess and make some rough puff instead, but pre made would be just as good (and if you use jus roll it's vegan too!) The best thing about these (aside from the taste) was the delicious sagey smell coming from the oven. It took me right back to when my dad was teaching me how to make them years and years ago!

For around 20 you'll need;

1 large red onion finely chopped (I blitzed mine in a mini chopper)
1 tbsp Olive oil
4-5 leaves of fresh sage finely chopped
1 packet of ASDA Lincolnshire sausage mix
Salt and pepper
250g Just Roll Puff pastry or homemade rough puff
2 tbsp melted butter or vegan marge
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line 2 baking trays with grease proof paper.
  2. Gently heat the oil in a small frying pan, then add the onion and cook for around 20 minutes until soft. Make sure you heat them gently, no super frying!
  3. While they're cooking make the sausage mix according to the directions and leave to stand. 
  4. Once the onion is nice and soft add the sage and cook for a few more minutes, then add them to the sausage mixture and combine well. 
  5. Roll the pastry out in to a long thin strip, then spoon the sausage mixture on to the pastry towards the right side leaving space to seal it. 
  6. Once you have one long sausage running all the way along brush the right side with the melted butter or marge and then fold the left hand side of the pastry over the top. 
  7. Brush the remaining butter all over the top of the roll, then slice it in to sausage roll sized slices. 
  8. Place them on to the baking trays, giving them room to rise, then pop in to the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  9. When they're golden brown, you know they're done. Leave them to cool and then eat! Ta dah!
Here's the cake, (Mr Hef lit the sparklers wrong and ruined the whole party*) Happy Anniversary Nan and Granddad (50 years, that's mental, isn't it?)

*not really.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Vegan Chili Cheese Fries

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been away house sitting and before that visiting my uni roots in Southampton. If you keep up with my Facebook page (shamless plug there guys) you will have seen that I ate myself in to a near coma with takeaways, cake and nachos from Laura and homemade pizza and beer batter halloumi from Georgie. So upon my return I decided I should probably eat some vegetables and a bit less saturated fat. As I was housesitting, I thought there was no chance of bad food making it's way in to my fridge. Of course it did in the end and I ended up eating beer battered halloumi again (it's just too good) and profiteroles, but I started my week with good intentions!
Sorry for the non DSLR'd picture, I'm house sitting and forgot the charger!
I've already mentioned my love for chili cheese fries, I found them when I was on holiday in America about 9 years ago and I became a full on addict. This was just before I became vegetarian so they were meaty and available everywhere. I loved them so much I even scoured the airport and managed to find some to eat before I went home. I must have become a vegetarian soon after that holiday and decided I could easily vegetarianise them. So since I'm eating less dairy at the moment and was trying to be healthy, I decided to try and veganise them. So I switched my regular chili for bean chili, normal potatoes for sweet ones and cheese for vegan cream cheese. They satisfied my chili cheese fries craving AND I didn't even feel guilty afterwards*!

Serves 2:

2 large sweet potatoes
1 tsp Olive oil + more for the sweet potatoes
1 small red onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
1 red pepper chopped
1 tsp mild chili powder
1 can of mixed beans in chili tomato sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes
As much tofutti cream cheese as you want
  1. Start off by preheating the oven to 200 degrees and pop a baking tray with a big glug of oil on in in to the oven.
  2. Heat 1tsp of olive oil in a sauce pan then add the chopped onion and the garlic to the oil and sweat on a low heat for around 5 minutes, then add the red pepper and chili powder and cook for a further 10 minutes. 
  3. While the onions and peppers are cooking chop the sweet potato in to chip shapes (as chippy as you can, they do come in strange shapes) and place them on to the hot pan with oil on and pop it back in to the oven and leave to cook for around 20-25 minutes
  4. Add the beans and chopped tomatoes to the onion and peppers and leave to simmer until the potato wedges are done. 
  5. Plate up with chili cheese fries with a layer of sweet potato fries, then some chili and as much tofutti cream cheese as you like and eat!
*until I started eating desert

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