Vegan MoFo: Happy New Year!

Contrary to what you might think I have not gone mad…although 31 days of MoFo could do that.

Samhain, or Halloween, is the old new year and I feel entirely happy adopting it as my own. So much better than the usual New Year, or Hogmanay as it’s known in Scotland, where the purpose is to get hammered. The old New Year begins at dusk so I guess that technically it’s not the new year yet…but lets not get pedantic.

A Traditional part a of new year is making resolutions but more recently I prefer goals. Goals can’t be broken and are something to strive towards where, as everyone knows, resolutions are made to be broken.

So here are three food goals which are doable and achievable:

1) Work more wheat free meals into my diet.

This isn’t because I have any allergy or intolerance and I have no intention of giving up wheat at all but with toast for breakfast, couscous for lunch and pasta for dinner ,well, even I can see it’s verging on excessive. It’s far too easy an option and wheat is pervasive, sneaking into so many things. Variety is good, it is the spice of life after all, so I must expand my carbohydrate repertoire. Just not too sure how yet.

2)Eat as seasonally as possible.

You know…without being too precious about it. I am a major proponent of seasonal eating and we already do our bit but I’m all for more! I truly believe that eating produce which is appropriate to your season is healthier for you. There are many reasons why, in the northern hemisphere anyway, we should eat roots in autumn and winter and fresh leafy salads in spring and summer. I know that automatically I am drawn to warmer, earthier meals in the winter months and lighter, cooler foods in the summer. That’s  not to say that salads can’t be eaten in winter but base them on carrot, beetroot, cabbage and celeriac rather than tomatoes, peppers and lettuce. Anyway, before I get off topic, seasonal foods shall be increased…except lemons. I can’t not have lemons!

3) Get back to preserving.

I love having a cupboard full of pickles, chutneys, jams and other preserves. Others might find it pointless and time consuming but I find it calming and a necessary part of connecting me to the seasons. Also, it’s a sneaky way of eating unseasonal fruits and vegetables legitimately without them being in season!

So those are my food goals for my new year. Have you any goals for the new year?

Vegan MoFo: British scones

Scones and pancakes are the two quick makes I turn to when we are all needing a little something in the afternoon to accompany our pot of tea. Neither are particularly sweet but they make a good vehicle for jam or conserve.

The scones use few ingredients, none of which are unusual, which makes them easy to put together. They do need a light touch and quick handling so that they rise nicely. I don’t even start to mix everything until the oven is heated and I keep the margarine  in the fridge until the last minute to keep it as cold as possible. This also makes for lighter fluffier scones. Also, do not be tempted to use a rolling pin. Just flatten, a very little and gently, with your palm.

I should probably apologise for the recipe being in ounces but it’s the recipe my mum used, the one I’ve used all my life and it’s much easier to remember the quantities.

 vegan scones

scones
16oz self raising flour
4oz margarine
2oz caster sugar
Pinch of salt
10 floz soya milk

Heat oven to 220C (unless you know it’s fierce, then keep it at 200C)

Heat the soya milk very gently until blood temperature but not hot.

Rub the margarine into the flour until roughly done. It doesn’t need to be like breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar and salt.

Using a table knife cut in the milk (so rather than stirring it you are using a sort of slice and mix action).

Pull it gently together with your hands and flatten the top but keep your scones the same height as you want because they don’t rise much.

Cut out your scones, place on a baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Eat warm with jam.

vegan scones

It’s never too early to start christmas cake

soaking fruits for christmas cake
If I had my way I’d probably start soaking my fruit in January so that everything is extra fermented and tasty. I did once leave fruits soaking for about 10 months but that was more through neglect than anything else. I’ve already talked about my dislike of things such as mixed peel in anything festive and I’ll also add that a christmas cake full of nothing but currants, raisins and sultanas is disappointment pure and simple. A mix of raisins, apricots and prunes is what I use even though the chopping (or scissoring) of the apricots and prunes is more time consuming. I like to stand meditatively and cut them one by one in a Zen-like trance. Afterwards they get soaked in a random selection of alcoholic dregs and, if I remember some orange and lemon zest. Mmmmmm, it’s beginning to smell a lot like christmas.

(Talking of christmas I am half thinking about bringing back Vegan HoHo again. We’ll see.)

Vegan MoFo – Samosa type things

While perusing the FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog, E’s Samosa Wraps caught my eye. I thought they might be nice for Jonathan to take for lunch; however, I thought pastry would be less messy to transport than wraps. Being scared of bubbling vats of oil, I went for the healthier option of baking the FatFree Vegan’s filling in some whole wheat pastry from Leah Leneman’s book “Easy Vegan Cooking”. The pastry was enough for 9 samosas with a small amount of filling left over. We didn’t have any tofu so I used a can of chickpeas instead and corn instead of peas. They were tasty but not very filling.

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Vegan MoFo: vegan peppermint hot chocolate

 

peppermint cream hot chocolate
When autumn rolls in I do like to treat myself on wet blustery days with a hot chocolate. White hot chocolate is always a favourite but a change is always good. Cue a brainwave. While sitting eating a Frys peppermint cream it dawned on my that a rather mintily delicious hot chocolate beverage could be made by simply melting said peppermint cream in some hot non dairy milk. It was, of course, mintily delicious.

(However, fast forward a week and the acceptance of an outdated Kenwood cookbook courtesy of my MIL ( and where I say acceptance add reluctant) and low and behold a recipe for peppermint cream hot chocolate. Only 22 years behind the times then.)