Category Archives: celebration dishes

Simnel Cake

Vegan and Gluten-Free Deliciousness….

According to Wikipedia, Simnel Cake is a fruit cake with two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and one on top.  It’s traditionally made at Easter time.  No-one seems to be quite sure what ‘simnel’ means.  Simnel cakes have been known since medieval times.  Different regions had their own version of Simnel Cake, and here’s a vegan and gluten-free one to add to the list.

I’ve flavoured mine with orange, cinnamon and ginger, and I’ve added grated carrot to help keep it moist and fragrant.

I bought ready-made, vegan, white marzipan, but feel free to make your own almond paste.

I hope you enjoy.

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SIMNEL CAKE

 12-16 slices

Ingredients:   Continue reading Simnel Cake

Cranachan (made with Crowdie – the old-fashioned way)

 

A creamy Scottish dessert; the perfect end to a vegan Burns’ Night supper.

In my brief series of Scottish delights here on the blog, Cranachan is another a simple dish, using thoroughly Scottish ingredients: oatmeal, raspberries and whisky.

In order to veganise it, I’ve diverged from tradition by using coconut cream and maple syrup (instead of double cream and honey).

It comes out just as light and tastes just as good.

Originally, Crowdie (a simple curd cheese) was used in this dessert, and I’ve noticed that a lot of Cranachan recipes bypass this, but it’s so easy to do, I thought I’d go back to the very beginning and make some, because it’s actually very easy.

Crowdie is made by curdling milk and separating the curds from the whey.  Incidentally, you end up with a lovely soft cheese that resembles Ricotta and can be flavoured with salt, pepper and herbs such as chives or basil.

The whey can be used in soups and stews, so there’s no waste!

PS. Cranachan recipe with or without Crowdie follows below!

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CROWDIE

makes between 220 – 275 gms.

Cook’s Note: a jam thermometer is useful here – but not absolutely essential.

Ingredients: Continue reading Cranachan (made with Crowdie – the old-fashioned way)

Neeps, Tatties and Whisky Sauce.

As promised, a quick post on the traditional accompaniments to Haggis on Burns’ Night. (Link to Vegan Haggis recipe below). 

Tatties –  aka. potatoes are boiled until tender, and mashed.

Neeps –  short for Turnips and aka. Swede in England and Rutabaga in the USA…. also boiled until tender and mashed.

Throw in some simple flavours (salt and pepper) and add a little luxury with a few chunks of vegan butter.

It’s that easy!

And whisky sauce gives the whole dish a touch of wonderful decadent warmth. 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

Click image for link to Vegan Haggis Recipe!

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NEEPS, TATTIES AND WHISKY SAUCE

SERVES 4

Ingredients: 
Continue reading Neeps, Tatties and Whisky Sauce.

Vegan Mushroom Haggis

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, served on Burns’ Night, 25th January, to celebrate the poet Robert Burns’ birthday.  Now, as a vegan you really don’t want to know what a traditional haggis is made of, and I know a lot of omnivores who aren’t too keen either.

So here is a truly sublime alternative: plant-based and cruelty free, and even though I say it myself … it really is good.

A Burns’ Night Supper is a cause for serious celebration, and I think this recipe definitely lives up to that.

So, if you’re Scottish, or would like to give a Scottish friend of yours a real vegan treat …. or if you would simply like to try a new and interesting recipe that results in a comforting winter-warming special, then look no further.

This is a dish, despite it’s celebratory nature, that uses modest and simple ingredients. My favourite kind of recipe.  I hope I’ve developed a recipe here that has the spirit of everything Scottish.  Herbs that survive cold weather, lots of salt and pepper, oatmeal, and onions.  It can be made in advance, and kept chilled for 24 hours.  I’ve also used a traditional steaming method, which may seem a bit daunting, but really isn’t! (Although I’ve also included a method for baking if you don’t want to steam the haggis 🙂 ) .

Hope you enjoy!

P.S. A blog for ‘all the trimmings’ : ‘Neeps, Tatties and Whisky Sauce is coming very soon!

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VEGAN MUSHROOM HAGGIS

SERVES 4

Cook’s note: you will need a 1 litre traditional deep pudding bowl with a rim, to steam the haggis.

Ingredients: Continue reading Vegan Mushroom Haggis

Quinoa, Almond and Mushroom Loaf

A lovely celebratory dish, loaded with flavour and goodness.  I’m very pleased with this one, and so were all the non-vegans I served it to last weekend.  My mother’s birthday falls at this time of year, which is great, because I got to cook a great vegan Sunday roast with all the trimmings….including a red wine sauce;  that doubled as a test run for a trial recipe for a delicious Christmas loaf that anyone can enjoy.  Unfortunately, I was so busy cooking and entertaining I forgot to take photos……ooops 🙃….. until the next day when I had a leftover slice with mash and peas and a miso gravy …… and I know this loaf would also be delicious served with rice, steamed broccoli and a lightly spiced tomato sauce.

So.  Take your pick of accompaniments!

 A very adaptable, delicious, flavoursome, nutritious, vegan dish.  Who could ask for more! 💚

You can make it in advance, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, and when it comes to baking, it’s very versatile.  It will cook long and slow at the bottom of a hot oven, or quicker at the top of a cooler oven.  I had potatoes roasting at Gas. Mk. 7 /220C and this dish sat on the bottom shelf for over an hour, covered in silver foil until the last 15 minutes.  You just need to make sure it comes out golden on the top and that it doesn’t dry out.   It also holds together perfectly when sliced, so the whole thing could be cooked in advance, sliced and frozen (each piece wrapped individually) …and individual slices then re-heated as wanted.

And as I think I already mentioned, you couldn’t pack more serious goodness into it if you tried!  🍃

It’s a dish that requires a little organisation, but it fits very nicely into several easy stages.

Hope you enjoy! 💕 💕

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QUINOA, ALMOND AND MUSHROOM LOAF

Serves 8

Stage 1: cook the perfect quinoa! Continue reading Quinoa, Almond and Mushroom Loaf

Strawberry Tart with a Strawberry Crème Pâtissière.

‘Tis strawberry time.  I have an ever-expanding strawberry patch on my allotment, (they put out new runners every autumn), and they’ve begun to appear in all their glorious juiciness.

To be honest, there is no better way to eat a strawberry than to pick it in the late afternoon when it has been bathed in gentle sunshine, and just pop it in your mouth.   Stand there, close your eyes, feel the light breeze and the warmth of the sun… and savour the strawberryness… of everything….

  Eating a strawberry like this tends to lead to the eating of more strawberries in a similar fashion.  It’s a very engaging activity  🙂

Nevertheless, some tend to make it back to the kitchen and sooner or later there will be jam, ice-cream, and who knows what else to come, but we had a picnic this weekend……. …so I made a strawberry tart.

Here’s how.

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Strawberry Tart with a Vegan Crème Pâtissière

for 6-8

or possibly just for 1

Ingredients: Continue reading Strawberry Tart with a Strawberry Crème Pâtissière.

Mushroom and Chive Pithivier.

Here is a simple recipe for a holiday pie, that’s great hot, warm or cold.

Pithivier is a pie that originates in France.  It can be sweet or savoury,  but often has a sweet almond filling, and with cherries or plums.

The pie can be made as lots of individual pies, or one big one.

It’s hard to open a French cookery book without coming upon oodles of cream, lashings of butter, endless cheese, an infinite number of eggs and slabs of meat…..

So to redress the balance just a little, here’s a veganised recipe for a savoury pie, that has to be a crowd-pleaser.

French in style, peaceful in ingredients.

Mushrooms and chives in a savoury bechamel sauce, encased in flaky puff pastry.

Perfect for a picnic too……

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mushroom and chive pithivier, decorated with the sun the moon and the stars….

MUSHROOM AND CHIVE PITHIVIER

For 4-6

This pie can be made hours in advance, and left to chill in the fridge until ready to bake.

Ingredients:   
Continue reading Mushroom and Chive Pithivier.

Be Someone’s Vegan Valentine. A Three-Course Vegan Menu for 2.

Vegans come in for a quite a lot of stick sometimes, so I thought I’d take a Valentine opportunity to send all vegans out there just a little bit of love.

I’m not always sure why vegans get so much bad press, (although I have my theories…) …because all we’re trying to do…is the right thing….for our own health, for animals, and for the planet.

For everyone and everything.

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If you want to show your favourite vegan a little love this valentine…

Here’s a menu that:

Won’t break the bank.

Has no ingredients in it that you won’t find in a supermarket.

And won’t involve hours and hours in the kitchen.

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So…go ahead…. show a vegan some love …

…or for that matter, show a non-vegan how good vegan food can be…..

…..and cook up a vegan storm…!

Here’s one way to do it….

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A Three Course Vegan Menu.

That anyone can cook…. I promise…. 🙂   Continue reading Be Someone’s Vegan Valentine. A Three-Course Vegan Menu for 2.

Nancy’s seasonal mushroom, chestnut, apricot and cranberry nut loaf, with red wine sauce and roasted + steamed vegetables. Vegan .

I’ve worked on this recipe for a while now.   It’s rich, hearty and flavourful.  Quite delicious actually…..

mushroom, chestnut, apricot and cranberry nut loaf served with a rich red wine sauce

It can be made in advance, cooked, cooled, sliced and frozen, or it can be made one day in advance and kept chilled in the refrigerator for 24 hours, before baking.

PS. to freeze, wrap each slice in greaseproof paper when cold, and place in freezer bag.

I served it as the main dish for a roast with all the trimmings, but it’s great with rice and a light sauce, or served cold with salad and pickles.

nut roast

Here is a link to my other festive seasonal offering this winter:

savoury vegan pie (click image for link)

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MUSHROOM,  CHESTNUT,  APRICOT  AND  CRANBERRY  

HERBED  NUT ROAST 

vegan roast

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:   Continue reading Nancy’s seasonal mushroom, chestnut, apricot and cranberry nut loaf, with red wine sauce and roasted + steamed vegetables. Vegan .

Nancy’s Seasonal Christmas Savoury Vegan Pie

A Christmasy Pie, with mushrooms, chestnuts and pinto beans, in a lemon, cashew cream and coconut milk sauce, served with cranberry sauce.

I will shortly be celebrating my second truly vegan christmas, and there’s no looking back.  I’m liking it too much.  Last year I managed a passable nut roast, so this year I thought I’d get ahead with my planning and pull out a few stops.  I’m noticing that, on high days and holidays when family and friends gather, and I bring a vegan dish to the table, my meat-eating relatives all make a bee-line for it, so much so I have to ward them off to make sure me and my partner get enough!  Still, I’m not complaining, because it’s a nice way to open people’s minds to plant-based cooking that’s based on cruelty-free, healthy and nutritious ingredients.  I just have to remind myself to make more than enough to go round.

Recipe

Serves 6

Apart from the cashew nuts process*** (which needs to be done 3 hours in advance) – 90 minutes is ample time to prepare and bake this pie.

Ingredients:   Continue reading Nancy’s Seasonal Christmas Savoury Vegan Pie