Sunday, 30 October 2011

Gingersnap Biscuits/Cookies (vegan)

Gingersnap Biscuits/Cookies
These ginger-snap biscuits are really quick to make in the food processor. Younger kids will love rolling out the dough and decorating the finished cookies, while older children will be able to make these with minimal supervision.
  • 300g/12oz SR flour
  • 100g/4oz dairy-free spread/butter
  • 100g/4 oz soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp black treacle/molasses
  • 2-3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2-4 tbsp cold water/milk
Heat oven to 190C/180C Fan/375F/Gas 5.

Blend the spread/butter into the flour.
Add the remaining ingredients (except the water) and blend well. 
Add just enough water to form a firm dough.
Chill the dough for about 20 minutes before rolling out.

Roll out the dough on a floured board and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
Place the shapes on a greased baking sheet. Re-roll any scraps to make extra biscuits.
Bake for around 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow to cool on the tray for a minute or so, before transferring onto a wire rack to cool.

Decorate with glacé icing when cool (optional).

Suitable for freezing.

Alternatives: Decorate the cookies accordingly for any occasion - we made ours for Halloween, but you could use different shaped cutters and different coloured icing for birthday parties and Christmas.

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Midlands vegan festival - a review

I didn't think there were many vegans, or even that many vegetarians in the West Midlands, but by today's turn out at the Midlands Vegan Festival, I must be wrong - the Wolverhampton Civic Hall was packed with people of all ages. There were all sorts of stalls including various animal-welfare and environmental-type charities, cruelty-free products and best of all, lots of folks offering tasters and selling oodles of yummy vegan foods.

There were talks, music, cooking demonstrations, kids activities, a vegan cupcake competition and even vegan speed-dating on offer (I declined visiting the latter!) and it only cost £1 for adult entry - what a bargain!

I visited with Miss Ony, and we spent a pleasant couple of hours at the festival. We both particularly enjoyed Lizzy Hughes' cooking demos and tasting quinoa for the first time.
I hadn't been to the vegan festival before, as I wasn't sure how family-friendly it would be, but I'll certainly go again next year. Pin It

Monday, 24 October 2011

Bookhams vegetarian 'Parmesan' - tastes as good as the real thing

Chances are that if you're reading this, you'll already know that real Parmesan cheese isn't vegetarian as it contains rennet extracted from calves stomachs. The Vegetarian Society recently ran a campaign to highlight this, but many restaurants still mark dishes containing Parmesan as vegetarian.

Bookham Fine Foods have come up with the ideal solution to this issue, by developing their own vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese wittily called 'Not Just A Pasta Cheese' as they weren't allowed to call it vegetarian Parmesan!

My family have been putting some of Bookhams products to the taste test, including Not Just A Pasta Cheese (which we had with pasta!) We also tried their pasta sauce, penne pasta, Sussex Charmer cheese and butter.

"At Bookhams, we're real people who eat real food, just like you do. Our philosophy is 'for taste', inspired by Italian Cuisine, achieved through the use of sensitively sourced, British & traceable natural ingredients. All our products have now been approved by the Vegetarian Society. What's more, our Dried Pasta and Pasta Sauces are great for Vegans too"
Not Just A Pasta Cheese is a fantastic substitute for Parmesan - it has very similar texture, grates well and has a good strong, almost nutty taste. It went really well over a bowl full of Bookhams penne pasta and their spicy tomato sauce. Although I don't usually buy ready-made sauces, this one really tasted home made, and would make a good alternative for a quick family meal, when you don't have time to make your own pasta sauce.

Their Sussex Charmer cheese also went down well with my cheese-loving family. It's a farmhouse-style cheese with a lovely mature but not over-powering flavour. We tried it with fresh home made bread spread with Bookhams South Downs butter - which made a lovely combination.

As a family, we were all impressed with the Bookhams products we tried and would happily purchase them ourselves.

Integrity Statement
I received various products from Bookhams to review and a discount code to share on my blog. I did not receive payment, and the views expressed are genuinely those of myself and my family. Pin It

Thursday, 20 October 2011

National Baking Week with Baking Mad - Doughnut Muffins & Vegan Mint Cake

Not only is it the week of my blogoversary, but it's also Mr O's birthday and National Baking Week. That makes it the ideal week to bake something special to celebrate all 3 events!

Baking Mad are also celebrating National Baking Week, and asked me to try out some of their recipes and blog about them. It took me a while to choose, but I eventually settled on 2 quite different ones: The delicious-sounding jam doughnut muffins (edit - now know as duffins!) and Eric Lanlard's indulgent-looking vegan mint chocolate cake.

I made the muffins earlier in the week. I didn't have any buttermilk, so I substituted this for half plain yogurt and half water. I also made a combination of lemon curd, strawberry jam and Nutella filled muffins to please all the family. They turned out perfectly, although they didn't rise as much as I expected. They were absolutely delicious whilst still warm - really light and fluffy - and they tasted a bit like freshly cooked American waffles. They tasted pretty good cold too, and I found they froze and defrosted well.

I decided to halve the vegan chocolate cake ingredients, as I wasn't sure how well it would keep. I was a little worried about making the cake, as I expected the recipe to contain dairy-free spread or vegetable oil, but the actual cake is fat-free. The mixture made quite a runny batter, which again was a little disconcerting! The cakes rose quite well and looked quite light, but needed a little persuasion to come out of their tins!

I couldn't find vegan cream for the ganache icing, so I had to improvise using dairy-free spread and a splash of soya milk along with the chocolate. I also added quite a bit of peppermint extract, to get a good minty flavour.

The cake had a unusual chewy texture, but tasted good with the mint-chocolate ganache smothered all over it! I think the cake would benefit from the addition of some margarine or oil, as I reckon this would make a softer textured cake (sorry Eric!)

Myself, Mr O and the children all enjoyed both the muffins and the cake. I'm not sure I'd make the cake again, but I'll definitely be making the muffins again soon. 

For more recipes and tips on baking and cupcake making, visit the Baking Mad website.

Integrity Statement
This is a sponsored post.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My very veggie blogoversary give-away

A year ago, I published my very first blog post. It wasn't a very interesting one, but nonetheless it was an exciting moment for me. I wondered if anyone would read it and the subsequent posts I would add. I initially started my blog as I love writing, cooking and creating new recipes. I also thought it would be a nice way of preserving some family favourite recipes for my kids (who I named Miss Ony and Miss Kahonie for blogging purposes, as unlike many other bloggers, I prefer to hide behind an alias!)

At first I didn't publicise my blog at all, but after I found out about Britmums (or British Mummy Bloggers as it was then) and then the
UKFBA (UK Food Bloggers Association), I started to dip my toe into the mysterious ways of the blogging community... I had no idea that there were so many other people out there blogging away about so many different things! I then set up a twitter account and a Facebook page and slowly my numbers of page views and followers crept up. People were actually reading what I was writing, and cooking my recipes! 

I've 'met' some wonderfully creative, funny and inspirational bloggers along the way. Some who have made me laugh out loud, and some who have brought a tear to me eye; I'm not naming any names as I don't want anyone to feel left out. I feel proud to have joined up with other bloggers who are campaigning for various good causes - I certainly didn't start blogging with that intention.

I've been lucky enough to get some freebies along the way, and have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing some of the yummy vegetarian products I've been sent from some lovely companies.

My blogoversary giveaway might not be quite as grand as others I've seen, but I hope you like the prizes on offer well enough to join in and have a go at winning one...

So, onto the give-away:

Prize 1: A gift pack full of yummy vegetarian sweets from Goody Good Stuff

Goody Good Stuff sweets contain natural fruit juices and extracts and no artificial nasties. All varieties are vegetarian (some are vegan), fat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, Halal and Kosher certified.

Find them on Facebook or drop them a tweet @goodygoodstuff.

Prize 2: 3 vouchers for tasty Innocent veg pots (one prize).

Choose from 8 different varieties (most are vegan and all are vegetarian). All contain 3 portions of veg, wholegrains, or pulses and tasty sauce, with herbs and spices and they're ready to eat in just 4 minutes.

Find them on Facebook or drop them a tweet @innocentdrinks.

Prize 3: A delicious selection of vegetarian products from Linda McCartney Foods.

Includes the following: 1 x Vegetarian Roast, 1 x Mini Snack Vegetarian Sausages, 1 x Rosemary & Red Onion Sausages, 1 x Cranberry & Camembert Burgers (one prize).

Find them on Facebook or Youtube, or drop them a tweet  @meatfreetweets .

Winners are @msetoonie wins the Goody Good Stuff sweets, @Veggie_4_Life wins the Innocent vouchers and @mum2alesha wins the Linda McCartney products - please contact me with your address details.

  • Follow my blog and leave me a comment below to say you've done this, along with your contact details. Let me know which prize you want to try and win (one comment per prize draw entry please).
  • For another chance to win, follow me on Twitter @FacelessFood and tweet I've entered the Very Veggie Giveaway with @Facelessfood @Bookhams @Goodygoodstuff @Innocentdrinks & @Meatfreetweets
  • and leave your twitter ID and details of your preferred prize in a comment below.
  • For another extra entry per prize, just follow the appropriate twitter ID for the prize you hope to win (@goodygoodstuff, @innocentdrinks or @meatfreetweets) and add an extra comment below - with contact details - to say you've done this.
  • Remember I need some way of contacting you in case you win, so make sure you put this in your comments! If you leave your twitter ID as means of contact, then please follow me @facelessfood so that I can message you if you win. Alternatively email me onykahonie1 at rocketmail dot com.
Terms and conditions
Entries only from the UK please.
A maximum of 3 entries for each prize are allowed per person.
Competition closes at midnight on 28th October 2011

The winner of each prize will be drawn at random.
I will contact winners within 48 hours of the prize draw. If winners have not replied within 7 days, I reserve the right to re-draw and offer the prize to another entrant.

Many thanks to Innocent, Goody Good Stuff, Bookhams and Linda McCartney Foods for kindly supplying the prizes and images provided.
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Friday, 14 October 2011

Quick and Easy Scone Base Pizza

This time last week there were 4 giggling girls in my house, as both Miss Ony and Miss Kahonie had a friend round for tea. I decided to make them a scone base pizza as they're so quick to make, especially using the food processor. As one of these friends is a notoriously fussy eater, I made a plain cheese and tomato pizza, as I know she's not a big fan of vegetables!

Serves 4

Scone base
  • 200g/8oz SR flour
  • 50g/2oz butter/spread
  • 50g/2oz grated cheese
  • 5-7 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree/sun-dried tomato puree
  • ½ tsp mixed herbs
  • 50-100g/2-4 oz grated cheese
  • your choice of extras: finely chopped peppers/onion/mushrooms, sweetcorn, pineapple, olives, veggie bacon etc
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/Fan 190C/Gas 6
Rub the butter into the flour.
Add the cheese, baking powder and mustard and mix.
Slowly add just enough milk to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Roll out into a circle about 2cm thick, on a floured board, and place on a greased baking tray.
Top with the tomato puree. Sprinkle with herbs and add any extra toppings.
Finally top with the grated cheese.
Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Serve with pasta and salad.

Suitable for freezing.

Vegan option: For a vegan scone base omit the cheese and milk. Use 75g/3oz of dairy-free spread and add water or dairy-free milk instead.
Top using vegan mozzarella-style cheese. Pin It

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Halloumi and Double Potato Cakes

Halloumi and Potato Cakes
This recipe is one I adapted from Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East by Arto der Haroutunian. The little potato cakes are delicious served warm in pizza bread with salad,
and went down well with all the family.
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 50g/2oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • 100g/4oz grated halloumi
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh dill or ½ tsp crushed fennel/dill seeds
Peel and cube the potatoes and boil in a pan of water until soft.
Drain well and mash - allow to cool.
Beat in the halloumi, egg and herbs.
Add the breadcrumbs and mix well - the mixture needs to be firm enough to shape into balls, so add more breadcrumbs if needed.
Shape into 12 balls using your hands, and flatten slightly into patties.
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan.
Fry patties in batches for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
Drain on kitchen roll and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining potato cakes.

Suitable for freezing.

Find more sweet potato and Greek recipes. Pin It

Friday, 7 October 2011

Goody Good Stuff - Vegetarian and vegan sweets

One of the hardest things I've found as a vegetarian mother is explaining to my kids that they can't eat certain things. I took the decision quite early on that I wouldn't worry too much about them eating hidden ingredients (like non-vegetarian cheese and gelatine) when they were out and about, but I would only buy genuinely vegetarian products to eat at home. They've always accepted this, but they do have the odd moan about not being able to have certain sweets.

Although there are some vegetarian chewy sweets available in supermarkets, they're normally packed full of artificial flavours and colours, which I'd also rather that they didn't eat. I recently read about Goody Good Stuff sweets in a vegetarian food magazine and thought they sounded pretty good. There are 8 types (4 gummy varieties and 4 sour varieties) which are all either vegetarian or vegan, plus they are gluten-free, halal and use only natural colours and flavours (so even most children with food allergies can eat them).

I was asked to review them on my blog, which my children were only to pleased to help with!

We tried 3 of the varieties: Koala gummy bears, sour cola bottles and sour fruit salad. All 3 varieties were satisfyingly chewy, although not quite as chewy as gelatine-based sweets. The fruity flavours were great and despite only using natural ingredients, the colours were nice and vibrant. The sour varieties both had a good tangy taste, although we would have all liked them to be a little more sour. The koala gummy bears were just right though and both of my kids said they tasted nicer than a certain well know brand of chewy sweets! We were all impressed the sweets and were left wanting more!

Goody Good Stuff sweets certainly live up to their claim that give sweets a good name. I will definitely be buying them in future as an occasional treat and to put in party bags.

Goody Good Stuff sweets are available to buy from various online retailers and from Holland and Barrett and Waitrose. Click here for a full list of suppliers.

Integrity Statement
I received 3 packets of sweets to review and a prize to give away (more next week!) I did not receive payment, and the views expressed are genuinely those of myself and my family,

©Images courtesy of Goody Good Stuff.

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