Saturday, December 25, 2010


My friend Claire made my vegan cake - look at her gorgeous result. Nollaig shona / Happy Christmas to everyone.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010



The snow has the kids off school today so we are all at home and hanging about. I decided it was the perfect day to (rather belatedly for me) make the Christmas Cake. Luckily, I bought the ingredients weeks ago - there is no getting to the shops today.

I was tempted this year to make a "new" cake but I just love this one, so here goes again. I used it as my wedding cake in May and it worked a treat then too. People contact me every year to say they have made the cake, so if you do, I'd love to hear from you.

Get all your ingredients weighed and ready in advance. This recipe makes a lovely moist, boozy and fruity cake. We eat it plain but you can buy vegan marzipan and icing to decorate it if you like.



350 gr wholegrain spelt flour
175gr vegan marg
175gr light muscovado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
150gr sultanas
200gr raisins
150gr dates
50 gr flaked almonds
1 tblsp treacle
100gr glacé cherries, halved
grated zest of an orange
2 tblsps ground almonds
120ml soya milk
2 tblsps red wine vinegar
¾ tsp of bread soda (bicarbonate of soda)
6 tblsps (90ml) brandy


• Preheat oven to 150˚C
• Grease an 8” cake tin and line with a double layer of greased greaseproof
• Sieve the flour and spice
• Rub in the marg until the mix is like breadcrumbs
• Stir in the flaked almonds and treacle
• Add the sugar, dried fruit, cherries, orange zest and ground almonds and mix
• Warm half the soya milk in a small pot and add the vinegar
• Dissolve the bread soda in the rest of the soya milk, then add
this to the milk and vinegar mix
• Stir this into flour and fruit mix until well combined
• Spoon mix into greased tin and smooth the top
• Bake for 2 hours, until a skewer/cocktail stick comes out clean
• Leave cake in tin to cool, then turn out and peel off greaseproof
• Prick cake with a cocktail stick and feed with a third of the brandy
• Wrap cake in greaseproof and store in a tin
• Feed with the rest of the brandy at weekly intervals



Monday, November 22, 2010


I was given free windfalls in a charity shop today. Isn't that nice and very recession friendly? I think I will make an apple crumble.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I had friends popping around unexpectedly on Friday morning and there was nothing to give them, so I needed a quick, tasty, gluten free biscuit that I could have done and cooling by the time they arrived. I went to my trusty Porridge book and of course good old Margaret Briggs had this recipe for School Dinner Oat Cookies. In a school she worked in years ago they served these with blancmange. How very Enid Blyton! These make a crisp, sweet, chewy biscuit. Impossible to eat just one.


125g porridge oats
125g butter or marg
125g caster sugar (I used half caster/half brown)
125g plain flour (I used wholemeal spelt flour)
2 tsps baking powder
pinch bread soda
2 tblsps + 1 tsp golden syrup


Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease two flat tins
Cream the sugar and marg
Add the porridge and the rest of the dry ingredients and mix
Mix in the golden syrup
Make into small balls (1 inch round) - this recipe makes about 18 - 20
Place on greased tins, leaving space - they spread!
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes

Monday, November 1, 2010


Happy World Vegan Day! Today marks the start of World Vegan Month. The website has some good downloads including a booklet called Vegan Catering For All.
In Ireland, November is traditionally a month of abstinence, in preperation for December's excesses. Lots of people give up alcohol for the month. But it would also be nice to try taking something up. I'm thinking of going vegan as much as possible. It's my husband who is the vegan in our family (I'm vegetarian) so I think I will join him for this month and hopefully health benefits (even more!) will ensue.

Happy eating, all.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Happy Hallowe'en!

Here's a really easy tea brack recipe, that I adapted and veganised from recipes from Mary in Café Fresh and Nigella too. The only odd thing is that you soak the fruit and sugar in the tea 'overnight'. A few hours will do it though, I find - a minimum of 4 hours.

You can wrap a ring in greaseproof paper and bake it in the centre of the cake. Traditionally, the person who finds the ring in their slice of brack will be the next to marry.

180ml tea
350g fruit (1/3 each of dates, sultanas, raisins)
125g brown sugar
1 portion of No Egg (or 1 beaten egg for non-vegans)
25 g melted vegan marg
255g wholegrain spelt flour
1tsp bread soad
1 tsp mixed spice

- Soak the fruit, sugar and tea in a bowl - leave overnight or for at least 4 hours
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin (ready-made liners are great and no greasing needed!)
- Add the NoEgg mix and melted marg to the fruit mix. Stir through.
- Fold in the flour, bread soda and spice
- Pour into the lined tin (insert wrapped ring at this point, if using)
- Bake for one hour, until a skewer comes out clean
- Cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn onto a wire rack.
- Lovely hot, cold or toasted with vegan marg.

Monday, September 27, 2010


OK, this is a weird one. I don't really like chocolate cake but I'd heard prunes were great in choc cake and even though I also hate prunes (AKA Torture Fruit), I thought I would try a pruney choc cake for Mr Vegan's birthday. I've been obsessing about this for weeks and I'm not sure why?! I thought I'd soften the blow by adding orange to the recipe, seeing that choc and orange are such a match. Anyhoo, I cobbled together several recipes and this is the result. Successful? YES! It's an absolute treasure of a cake: dense, sweet, moist. Really yummy. 'A keeper,' Mr Vegan says.

You will need 2 round, 8 inch cake tins

100 grams of Green and Blacks cocoa
300 grams Self Raising Flour
200 grams brown sugar
60ml veg oil
2 portions of No Egg (or 2 beaten eggs for non-vegans)
2 tins of prunes (strained, pitted and halved)
Juice of 2 large oranges
100 ml prune juice (from tins of prunes)
Grated rind of 2 whole oranges
2 drops of vanilla essence

1 large bar dark choc melted
1 tablespoon of icing sugar, to thicken

Preheat oven to 190C
Grease the tins and line the bottoms with baking paper
Drain and stone the prunes
Sieve the dry ingredients
Add the wet ingredients, rind and prunes, except the orange juice and PJ
Mix OJ and PJ in gradually - the mix shouldn’t be too sloppy
Pour in to the two greased tins
Bake for about 50 mins or until firm
Cool on a wire rack

When the cakes are cool, melt the chocolate
Mix in the icing sugar
Palette the icing between the cakes and onto the top

Monday, August 23, 2010


A lovely simple recipe for Banana Bread from Domini Kemp's Saturday page in the Irish Times Magazine, which I veganised (and reduced the sugar in) with great results. Bananas are a natural raising agent so they deliver a lovely high, springy loaf. Gorgeously banana-y too!

2 over-ripe bananas
100g light brown sugar
125g wholegrain spelt flour
125g self-raising flour
50ml soya milk
50ml rapeseed oil
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsps NoEgg mixed with 4tblsps water (or 2 beaten eggs for non vegans)

o Preheat the oven to 160˚C
o Grease a loaf tin
o Break the peeled bananas into a bowl and whizz with the sugar (I used a hand blender)
o Add the NoEgg mix (or eggs), oil and soya milk and whizz again
o Fold in the dry ingredients & pour into the loaf tin
o Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Test with a skewer.
o Gorgeous hot or cold, on its own or with soya cream/custard/Alpro 'yogurt'

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I love dates and find them a brilliant sweetener in cakes and slices. I've adapted this recipe from one in Rachel Allen's Bake, a book that my sister gave us as a wedding present. I added an orange because it's a flavour that goes so well with dates. As usual, I've reduced the sugar in the original recipe. Most recipes use far too much sugar IMO. Sugar ages you, people, and generally you can reduce it with v little effect to sweetness.

200g chopped dates
Juice and zest of 1 large orange
150ml water
175g plain flour
125g brown sugar
100g porridge oats
175g vegan margarine
half tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

o Preheat the oven to 180˚C
o Grease a square cake tin (20cm x 20cm). Line the bottom with greaseproof paper.
o Heat the dates, orange juice, water and zest over a low heat until soft (about 10 mins). Allow to cool
o Sieve the flour and baking powder
o Mix in the sugar, salt and porridge oats
o Rub in the vegan marg until it all sticks together in clumps
o Press half the mix into the bottom of your tin, tamp it down
o Plop blobs of the date mix onto the base at intervals and smooth down
o Put the rest of the oat/marg mix on top until the dates are covered. Tamp down.
o Bake for 40 minutes, until golden-brown.
o Cool in the tin before slicing into bars

Monday, August 9, 2010


Flapjacks are the easiest thing to make. OK, they are not super healthy except for the porridge oats but they are yummy. The recipe is a veganised version of one from a book called Porridge by Margaret Briggs which is full of no-frills, good recipes.

125g vegan marg
75g brown sugar
3 tblsps golden syrup
250g porridge oats

• Preheat oven to 180C
• Lightly grease a shallow baking tray
• Melt the sugar, marg and syrup together in a pot
• Mix in the porridge oats
• Flatten out on the baking tray with a wooden spoon
• Bake for 25-30 minutes
• Mark into squares or bars
• Leave to cool in the tin, then remove

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Vegan Rhubarb and Pear Crumble

My friend Debbie brought us rhubarb from her garden in Kilconnell and I couldn’t decide whether to make my rhubarb cake or a crumble with it. Mr Vegan loves crumble so, as it’s a bank holiday week-end, and we actually get some time together, I went for that. The recipe is spliced from several different ones and I threw in a pear for sweetness. It’s nice and spicy and the crumble is good and thick. We had it with soya custard. Yum!


100g spelt flour
70g vegan marg
45g brown sugar
50 g porridge oats


4 stalks rhubarb, chopped
1 pear, peeled and chopped
¼ tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
juice and zest of an orange
50g brown sugar


• Preheat oven to 180C
• Stir the filling ingredients over a low heat until the sugar melts and the fruit starts to soften
• Pour the mix into a pie dish and let it cool while you make the topping
• Rub the marg into the flour
• Add the sugar and oats and mix through with your fingers
• Pour the topping onto the fruit and pat down with your hands
• Bake for 30 minutes
• Serve hot or cold, with soya cream or custard

Monday, July 19, 2010


We got married in May (in lovely New York) and on Saturday last we had a family lunch here in Ireland for which I made our wedding cake. It's my Christmas Cake recipe and it turned out great. I cheated and bought the fondant icing but it was easy to put on and looked nice.

Wedding cake ingredients ready to go

Our vegan wedding cake


The top of the cake

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vegan Rice Krispie Buns

I am a hunger monster at the moment. Is it boredom? Frustration? Madness induced by motherhood?! All three?!? Anyway, what ever it is I am obsessed with goodies. Today I wanted homemade biscuits (cookies, to my American pals) but I didn't have the right flour.

OK, I thought, flapjacks will do, I'll make them. Guess what? Hardly any porridge oats. Grrr.

So what did I make? Essentially, vegan rice krispie buns. Do our American friends have these? They are a birthday party must-have in Ireland. They are Rice Krispies mixed into melted chocolate, then left to set.

There has been a bar of vegan couverture chocolate in the press since Xmas. Mr Vegan got it as part of his Xmas box from someone. I don't think the someone realised it was posh cooking chocolate.
Anyway, out it came today and I inspected it closely: it's organic, vegan and has raisins and almonds in it. Mmmm. There is so much written on the wrapper it's hard to know what's what. Anyway, the gist is it's by Organica, as part of their Vegan Diets range, and it's made in Switzerland for a company in England. The web address is and they do lots of lovely stuff.

So I present to you, Vegan Rice Krispie Buns:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


On last night's Desperate Housewives, Bree said baking is 'all about precision'. Not with me Mrs Van de Kamp-Hodge. No, here it's all about cravings and experimentation (the latter not always successful).

Today's experiment is Lemon and Sesame Seed Loaf. Hmm. We had delicious Lemon and Poppy Seed muffins in Paperchase in London at the week-end and I've had lemon cake cravings since Easter, so here we are. Our local veg shop, which also sells seeds, didn't have poppy seeds so instead I bought sesame and just sprinkled them on top. It turned out grand - not very sweet but the lemony-ness makes up for that. Add another 25g to 50 g sugar if you like a sweeter loaf.

Here's the recipe:

150 g of wholemeal spelt flour
100 g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
25 g of light brown sugar
25 g of caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp NoEgg mixed with 2tblsps water (or 1 beaten egg for non vegans)
150 mls of soya milk
juice and rind of one large lemon
1 tblsp vegetable oil
a handful of sesame seeds

* Preheat the oven to 160˚C
* Grease a 2lb loaf tin (or line with paper liner)
* Zest the lemon, then squeeze it
* Sieve the flour
* Mix flour, sugar and spice
* Make the NoEgg mix as per pack
* In a jug, mix together the soya milk, oil and NoEgg mixture
* Make a well in the flour and beat in the milky mixture
* Fold in the lemon zest and lemon juice
* Pour the mixture into the loaf tin. Gently shake to flatten the top
* Sprinkle with the sesame seeds
* Bake for an hour in the top of the oven. Move down a shelf if top browning too quickly.
* Test with a skewer to see if it is baked through
* Cool the cake in the tin

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I adapted this from a Café Fresh recipe. I had to adapt it because their recipe included seeds and when I went to the press, the seed box was almost empty. So I threw in muesli, flaked almonds and a mushed up Weetabix instead. Necessity. Mother. Invention etc etc. This recipe is sugar free – so good for you!
I used a 12” x 9” oval ovenproof dish – a square one might work better for slicing.

240 g chopped dates
Juice and zest of 1 large orange
140g porridge oats
70 g muesli (try for one with seeds)
20 g flaked almonds
110g vegan margarine

o Preheat the oven to 180˚C
o Heat the dates, orange juice and zest over a low heat until soft (about 5 mins)
o Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
o Rub in the vegan marg until it all sticks together
o Press half teh mix into the bottom of your ovenproof dish, tamp it down
o Plop blobs of the date mix onto the base at intervals and smooth down with your wooden spoon
o Put the rest of the oat/marg mix on top until the dates are covered. Tamp down.
o Bake for 25 minutes, until golden-brown.
o Cool in the dish before slicing – it may be crumbly. Who cares? Have more!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vegan Apple Cake

Readers of this blog will know that I am mildly obsessed with apple cakes. I had HUGE cravings for them while pregnant and I am still searching for the right taste. I made up this recipe in an attempt to get what I am looking for. Did I succeed? YES! It’s the nearest in taste to my mother’s cake that I’ve yet had. It is not a very sweet cake (I am on a health kick so I put in v little sugar and v little fat) but it is really delicious. It's more of a loaf, really. And it's so healthy! My mother famously used to ‘forget’ to put sugar in apple tarts. She will love this cake/loaf which I will have to bake for her asap.

250 g of wholemeal self raising flour
2 med/large cooking apples
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp NoEgg mixed with 2tblsps water (or 1 beaten egg for non vegans)
200 mls of soya milk
50 g of light brown sugar
1 tblsp vegetable oil
30 g flaked almonds

  • Preheat the oven to 160˚C
  • Grease a 2lb loaf tin (or line with paper liner)
  • Peel the cooking apples and chop into small pieces
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon on the apples
  • Mix flour, sugar and spice
  • Make the NoEgg mix as per pack
  • In a jug, mix together the soya milk, oil and NoEgg mixture
  • Make a well in the flour and beat in the milky mixture
  • Fold in the chopped apples
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin. Gently shake to flatten the top
  • Sprinkle with the flaked almonds
  • Bake for an hour in the top of the oven. Move down a shelf if top browning too quickly.
  • Test with a  skewer to see if it is baked through
  • Cool the cake in the tin

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Isn't this great? Click the image to see bigger version. Buy the poster for your wall here.