Friday, 27 June 2014

Oreo Banana Brownies- Vegan

Who's for tea in the garden?
Oreos are vegan! (At least, the ones you get in the UK are.) Their sweet and slightly salty flavours and chocolatey, creamy texture are a unique combo, so when I found them on sale (2 packets for £1 in Poundland) this weekend, I just had to indulge. Having some very ripe bananas to use up and the urge for home baking, however, I turned some of the biscuits into brownies. To help get that fudginess, I used melted gour (raw sugar made by simply evaporating cane juice, goodness intact) but if you don't have any, try soft brown sugar.

Makes about 12 brownies, depending on the size of the tray.
275g wholemeal flour (I sifted out the larger pieces of bran first) or plain flour
125g gour, melted/ dark brown sugar
3 rounded tabs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb.
2 bananas, sliced
4 or 5 crumbled Oreos (I used the Chocolate Creme variety) plus an extra one for scattrering on the top
2 flax eggs
1 cup melted coconut oil/ cold pressed sunflower oil
1 cup plant milk

  • Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the banana chunks.
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together.
  • Beat the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and spread the mixture into a prepared tin or silicone mould.
  • Scatter with more crumbled Oreo.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 180C or 25-30 mins. (Test with a skewer to see if they're done.)
  • These brownies are great warm with a scoop of banana icecream. (You won't believe how easy the icecream is to make!) Though moist enough when fresh they tend to dry out so best eat as many as you can at once ;)

Perfect with banana icecream!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Iced Latte with Almond Syrup- caffeine, dairy and sugar free!... and some Summer Flowers

Summer is finally here, and if you like to spend the odd spare moment sitting in a sunny garden or park with a cold drink and a good book/ iPad/ crossword, then this recipe is for you! Iced coffee-type drinks are expensive to buy and not always available in vegan, sugar-free or caffeine-free variations, but they are very easy (and much cheaper) to recreate at home. You can even make a batch of the flavouring syrup in advance. I used almond, but you can experiment with vanilla etc.

Almond syrup:
200ml agave nectar
1 tsp natural almond essence

  • Mix well and keep in a jar- no need to refrigerate
Iced Latte:
coffee substitute or decaffeinated coffee
plant milk of some kind
almond syrup (see above)

  • For each person, make a cup of black Barleycup/ Bambu/ Caro/ decaffeinated coffee.
  • Leave it to cool, pour into a glass or beaker then add plant milk (soya or almond are good for this). 
  • Use about 2 tsps of the almond syrup per cup; some people may like it even sweeter... and add plenty of ice. 
  • Throw in a straw and you're good to go!

Come and step into our garden, in all its midsummer glory...

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Ten Common Processed Foods that are Vegan

Vegans and vegetarians are often thought of as eating strange foods that no one's ever heard of, and while it's true that we probably eat more of a variety of foodstuffs than "omnivores", there are some well-known processed foods to be found in many peoples' kitchen cupboards that you might be surprised to know are actually vegan, containing no animal derived ingredients at all. Now we all know it's not a good idea to binge on junk food every day, but for the odd treat, or to show "new" or would-be young veggies/ vegans that they can still have some old favourites and fun foods, the foods on this list could prove very useful. Take a look and see if any of these foods surprise you!
  1. Oreos (in the UK): I have heard that US Oreos are not vegan, but they certainly are over here! And Poundland are currently offering 2 packets for £1...
  2. Bourbon biscuits: Most brands are vegan (check the labels just in case)
  3. Jammie Dodgers: Hurray! This sticky, chewy childhood favourite is STILL on the menu!
  4. Raspberry Ruffles: Available as bars or as bags of wrapped sweets, these somewhat sickly dark chocolate coated raspberry-coconut fondants are a throwback to the 70s, when every theatre foyer sold them. Now they only seem to be available in Poundland, but it's good to see they're still going strong.
  5. Cream Crackers: Essential for that home made artisan vegan cheese and chutney, or with Marmite when you don't fancy anything else. Who can imagine Christmas without these turning up at some point in the proceedings?
  6. Ritz crackers: See above, only don't put Marmite on them. 
  7. Jus-Rol puff pastry: A blessing for busy cooks, or those of us who are patisserie-ly challenged. Find it chilled in supermarkets, as a roll or square sheets.
  8. Fruit Factory Fruit Hearts/ Stars: Available in Poundland or supermarkets, they make great cake or dessert decorations and good subs for jelly sweets.
  9. Betty Crocker Bacos: Wonderful salad sprinkles, just like in Pizza Hut...
  10. Linda Mac sausages: Cheap, quick and fantastic warm in a roll with lashings of ketchup.

Do YOU have any favourite vegan convenience/ junk foods to confess??