Monday, 19 January 2009

9 bars

My mum and dad always make me and my boyfriend a vegan hamper at christmas, this year some of the things we got were vegan mayo, soy parmasan, st dalfours jam (it's fruit sweetened and all natural ingredients, we got marmalade and black cherry - delish!), chocolate marzipan bars, nakd bars and 9 bars. I hadn't had the 9 bars before but they were really nice, I started buying them for myself, well today I realised they actually had honey in the ingredients list - no more 9 bars for me. But I thought, why can't I make my own? So, I set about an experiment in the kitchen, measuring as I went! I'm pretty pleased with this recipe and don't think I would change anything, it's not exactly the same but, the real 9 bars are chewier, I guess this could maybe be acheived by halving the caramel and adding some agave to the mix, anyway heres what you need for vegan 9 bars

Nut/seed mix

1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds
1/2 cup mixed seeds (I used Tescos own brand which included pumpkin, sunflower and sesame)
1/2 cup musli mix (I used Tescos musli base without fruit but you could use a fruity one if you like) can sub more seeds or nuts

Caramel mix
1 cup light brown unrefined sugar
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ganache topping

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup soy milk


Put nut and seed mix (minus musli mix) in the oven at 220.
Whilst the nuts roast make the caramel by heating all the ingredients together, keep stirring it and watch it doesn't boil over.
Pour the nuts and seeds into the caramel, I then added a half cup of musli as it was too wet, you could just add more seeds but I kinda liked the musli in the finished product!
Leave this to set in the fridge, I put it in a silicon loaf tin.
Whilst it's cooling make the ganache by heating the soy milk to boiling and adding the chocolate chips off the heat, stir vigarously, I would have added a touch more vanilla here but I've run out :(
Leave this yummy mixture in the fridge to set for as long as you can wait!

Chocolate orange cake

I made the Chocolate Orange Cake from Fatfreevegan last week, I made a few minor alterations like using all wholemeal flour and alpro chocolate pudding instead of soy yoghurt, I also just added orange juice instead of the water as the first time I tried to make it I felt I wanted a more orangey kick! I really wanted to experiment with a frosting for the middle, I had some silken tofu in the fridge so I tried blending it with icing sugar and cocoa powder, it was horrible and too thin even if it tasted ok!!! What could I do to rescue my tofu? I added some arrowroot and put it in a pan to heat it to help thicken it for a start, while it was heating I had a good idea, why not add some chocolate in and make a sort of ganache but frosting ganache... I did this, about a third of a big bar, a little vanilla essence, orange zest and chilling time later and it was yummy! I would even serve this by itself, but not in a big portion cause it was very rich.

I then topped the cake with a glaze made from icing sugar, freshly squeezed orange juice and yes, more zest.. I really wanted the orange kick! This cake got 9/10 from my gran who is the best cook/baker ever! Even my mum who hates both chocolate cake and icing liked it, all in all, a big success with the family - who needs eggs and dairy with all these great vegan recipes available

Friday, 16 January 2009


Yesterday I cooked us some Mexican food for tea, home-made chilli, guacamole, home-made tortilla chips and brown rice. I cooked the chilli in the slow cooker using 2 tins of tomatoes, 3 tins of beans, white beans, haricot beans and a three bean salad which was adzuki, canelini and flageolet. I browned off some onions in a pan, with water, I really don't like cooking with oil, I don't actually own any oil, I think you can substitute other things most of the time so I try and avoid it. I also put two bell peppers, one red, one yellow and lots of mushrooms in. To spice the chilli I went really simple, just some cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and some green tabasco sauce which is really nice. I was going to add some fresh red chilli also but I couldn't find it... still haven't found it but I'm certain I bought it cause I went out specially for it... I'll probably find it somewhere really silly.. The chilli tasted really nice but it was actually a little thin for my liking, I should have added some lentils at the beginning of cooking it and that would have thickened it up nicely whilst adding some extra protein.. not that it needed too much! I also normally add some tomato puree but I ran out making Bryanna Clark Grogans fabulous fruit sweetened ketchup yum!!

The guacamole was my favourite part of this meal, I've only had it twice before but decided to attempt making it, I looked up a basic recipe and then just kinda went off on one a did my own version... this happens a lot, I suck at following recipes, I just have to tweak! Anyway, this time it worked out! It was really hot cause when I was pouring on the jalapeno tabasco it wasn't coming out so... I shook it a bit too violently!

half a finely chopped red onion
juice of half a lime
2 cloves of garlic
1 avocado
1 big vine tomato
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
green jalapeno tabasco, a generous glug
lots of fresh coriander (cilantro)

Chop the red onion and put it in a bowl, squeeze over the lime juice leave while you prepare everything else so the acidity in the lime cooks the red onion slightly. Next add your garlic, chopped tomato, chopped avocado and seasoning add a little at a time so you get the right heat for you, I say mine was hot but I'm actually a total wimp when it comes to spicy food, Mike's mild is my mega hot! Finally I left it in the fridge for a few hours before serving so all the flavours could come together, yum yum.. I also discovered how to take macro pictures on the digital camera... doesn't it look pretty!

Edit: I found the elusive little chilli... it was just in the fridge, I swear I searched it twice and got Mike to search... the phrase 'can't see for looking' comes to mind..

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Fitness goals

My short term fitness goals are;
  • to squat half my body weight, currently I can do a third
  • to do a chin-up and pull-up from fully extended
  • to clean and press 20kg (currently at 15)
  • to learn proper push-ups and do more than 10
  • one legged squats (without looking totally uncoordinated..)
  • to start doing burpees with the push-ups
  • to do a plank for 2.30 minutes
After I've managed that..
  • Squat 2/3 my body weight
  • 2 reps of fully extended chin/pull-ups
  • clean and press 25kg
  • 25 push-ups strict form
  • 15 one legged squats each leg
  • to get 50 burpees under 2.30 (with good form)
  • to do a plank for 3 minutes
To reach these goals I'm aiming for at least two strength sessions and one conditioning session per week and I hope to achieve the first set of goals before summer.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

I baked these last night (I'm not sure why I'm underlined...I'll get the hang of this eventually I hope..must have pressed something wierd and I don't know how to put it back!).. anyway, I baked these cookies last night and they were great! I'm now wishing I'd measured everything a bit more carefully but I'll post my rough measurements.

3/4 cup WW flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup brown sugar

about 1 cup soy milk or slightly less.. add slowly!! I added half a cup but it wasn't enough so I just added more until it was the right consistency
1tsp peppermint extract
1 flax egg

Pre-heat the oven to 175c. Make the flax egg with 1 tbsp of ground flax and 3 tbsp of warm water and set aside. Mix the wet into the dry then stir in about half a bar of plamil mint chocolate all smashed up. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 8-10 mins

Enjoy fresh from the oven with a cup of warm chocolate oat milk!

EDIT: I have since found out chocolate oatly and also normal enriched oatly are not vegan. I assumed they were a vegan company since they specialised in non-dairy oat milk but no, they have vitamin D from sheeps wool in their products. Annoying, much. No more chocolate oatly for me :(

First Post!

After being vegan for around 4 years I've only just discovered a love for vegan baking and I've been inspired by lots of the blogs I've seen. I live with my boyfriend, also vegan, our two guinea pigs, Gracie and Trudy and hamster called Missy, or full title Missy the ginger ninja, they called her that in the pet shop and we decided to keep it when we got her home. Gracie is the long haired piggy and the picture was taken on christmas morning with their presents, carots and a hay cookie! it doesn't take much to make those two happy. Missy is pictured testing a small piece of blueberry muffin cake which was the first thing I ever made and was made using a recipe from Fatfreevegan for berry spice muffins, at this time I did not own a muffin tin so cake it was!

That's a picture of me and Mike at Hebden Bridge a lovely scenic town in England with a very vegan friendly attitude, we stayed in a vegetarian B&B who catered for vegans and ate out with ease, we even saw a fish and chip shop which advertised vegan options in the window! Nowhere else in the UK have I seen anything like that unless the eatery was specifically vegan! I'm also going to blog about my fitness gains as well as post recipes and meal ideas. I'm intending to build strength mainly, I used to be able to do pull-ups and chin-ups and a really busy christmas, uni work and part time work schedule left my training at the bottom of my to-do list but I'm going to get back into it for the new year. I have less work commitments as the christmas rush is over so that just won't cut it as an excuse anymore!

Well I'll leave my little introduction for now next time I'll be back with food pics!