Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Lebanese Sfouf 2 (and a cup of green tea)

It’s my hundredth post …so I thought I’d bake a cake ūüôā …and what better… than another sfouf¬†…sweetened this time with molasses and date syrup…. light and moist …and not overly¬†sweet …with complex flavours: anise…molasses…dates…turmeric … cocoa ¬†powder… roasted almonds and sesame…



A Lebanese semolina cake.

Sweetened with Molasses and Date Syrup

Ingredients: Continue reading “Lebanese Sfouf 2 (and a cup of green tea)”

All About Beans, Desserts, Japanese Inspired Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Yokan. A traditional japanese dessert.

Yokan is made from beans.  Often red bean paste, using adzuki beans.

Yokan takes me back to afternoons spent with a friend of mine who used to import Yokan from Japan, and take it with his Matcha tea.  He had a tea whisk and gave me one.  I still have it.

yokan – adzuki bean jelly

As with so much Japanese cuisine, Yokan is delicate, fragrant and subtle.

Proof, if proof were needed, that beans aren’t just about stews and burgers!



*The beans need soaking overnight.

Ingredients: Continue reading “Yokan. A traditional japanese dessert.”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Jamaican Ginger Cake.

I like sweet things to have more about them than just¬†sweetness. ¬†¬†Just a¬†little bit of complexity and depth of flavour. ¬†Either a citrusy ¬†tang, or a spicy warmth. ¬†A fruity sharpness or flavours that contrast in some way…and accompanied by a¬†fragrant aroma.

Not too much too ask, surely ?

This is a cake that’s spicy, warming, moist, and with a wonderful tang that you only get with blackstrap molasses.

Now blackstrap molasses is good stuff. ¬†Bizarrely, it’s what’s left after they’ve made refined sugar… it’s the bit that contains the vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium, and iron (which is why some suggest it’s good for PMS).

So what more excuses are needed to make this easy, simple, sweet treat recipe?

Well, ….this cake stores very well, gets stickier over time, and, for one of those¬†particularly decadent moments, is great warm, with a dollop of cream: either whipped coconut cream or pourable oat-cream or soy-cream.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get on with it ūüôā


jamaican ginger cake – good with spiced tea, chai or coffee…


Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Jamaican Ginger Cake.”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Cacao, Almond, Date and Coconut Cream Tarts. Without Sugar.

Little tartlets – filled with a vegan sugar-free chocolate ganache in puff pastry cases.

They definitely hit that sweet spot!

cacao, date and almond tarts – sugar free

Alternatively, this mix would be great for a large flan – although I would recommend blind-baking the pastry for 10 minutes first….

To avoid sugar, I used Cacao Paste, which looks just like dark chocolate …but has no sugar.

For sweetener I used dates, and for texture and depth of flavour, freshly ground toasted almonds.

Coconut cream gives it a consistency of a thick fudgy ganache….

cacao date and almond tart

A nice combination …mellow and sweet….

The case is puff pastry, and formed like those little Portuguese custard tarts, but very thin…. (vegan custard tarts for another blog…)

vegan chocolate ganache tarts – sugar free



Make 12:  6-7cm. in diameter

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Cacao, Almond, Date and Coconut Cream Tarts. Without Sugar.”

Vegan, Vegan Treats

Khapse and Po Cha. Tibetan Pastries + Vegan-Butter Tea.

Today is the first day of the Tibetan New Year. ¬†I think it’s important to remember that Tibet has suffered much in the last decades, even centuries, and that The Dalai Lama remains in exile from his homeland.

In the spirit of cooking for peace, I’ve made some lovely little Tibetan Pastries, which are eaten everywhere in Tibet during Losar ( Tibetan New Year Celebrations), and I’ve served them with Vegan-Butter Tea… the name of peace to all creatures on this planet.

khapse and po cha

The pastries are lovely, soft and sweet, particularly when still warm and fresh.

The tea…is …well…. more of an acquired taste…. tbh…. but not unpleasant…. I’m certain I will grow to like it….



Makes a bowl full

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Khapse and Po Cha. Tibetan Pastries + Vegan-Butter Tea.”

Cakes, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Sfouf. A Traditional Lebanese Semolina and Almond Cake. (+ a cup of green tea)

When I’m not keeping up with the humdrum ¬†stuff of daily life, or cooking up some new recipe for this blog, I try and write….stories….. ¬†If I get the time, it’s usually mid-afternoon, and with a slice of Sfouf and a cup of ¬†Green Tea, my creative brain has a chance to flourish…ha …sometimes …

Sfouf is a lovely, yellow, spiced semolina and almond cake. The primary spice is Aniseed. Anise is an ancient spice, long cultivated in the Mediterranean Region.  It has a sweet  aromatic character, a little like liquorice.  Medicinally, Anise is thought to have a carminative effect, and is often taken as tea, as well as being used to flavour confectionery and cakes.

Sfouf also includes turmeric, ground almonds and sesame.

It’s traditionally made without eggs, the only vegan adaptation here is the use of non-dairy milk.

A word of warning, I’m not fond of overly sweet flavours, so in my Sfouf recipe version, I have reduced the ‘standard’ amount of sugar by a third, and added¬†extra aniseed…..

You may well want to add a little more sugar … ¬† ¬† it’s up to you, maybe up to about 50gms. more?

Sfouf¬†means ‘rows’, so in the spirit of its name, I have made Sfouf in a square tin.

Finally, use a tin about 28-30cm square, as if the tin is too small, the cake will struggle rise properly, and will not easily set in the middle…



Lebanese Almond, Semolina and Anise Cake.


12-16 pieces thereabouts…

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Sfouf. A Traditional Lebanese Semolina and Almond Cake. (+ a cup of green tea)”

Vegan, Vegan Ingredients, Vegan Treats

The Wonder of Turmeric. Spiced Cocoa. Vegan.

organic turmeric

Wherever you look, the benefits and wonders of turmeric are described.  From Ayurvedic Medicine to 21st century science, turmeric gets nothing but gold stars.

Google ‘turmeric’ and lists and lists of benefits can be found.

Recipes for ‘Golden Milk’ abound, and here is my adaptation on a little cup of heaven that I take just about every day. ¬† Continue reading “The Wonder of Turmeric. Spiced Cocoa. Vegan.”

Vegan, Vegan Treats

baylees…a vegan scottish whisky cream liqueur…

  *I would like to offer a festive toast to all* 

*  vegan-style  *

¬† ¬† so here’s a recipe for whisky cream liqueur ¬†



baylees – vegan scottish whisky cream liqueur


makes about 700ml.

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “baylees…a vegan scottish whisky cream liqueur…”

Cakes, Desserts, Vegan Treats

Basbousa. Egyptian-style Semolina Cake. Flavoured with citrus.

Dense, moist and with a zing of citrus, this semolina cake would be a great finish to these Egyptian-style dishes:

broad bean patties coated in sesame seeds fried in olive oil served with a simple green mezze
spiced paprika stew + marinaded fried tempeh




(click images for links)




citrus basbousa with a refreshing herb tea



serves 8

Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Basbousa. Egyptian-style Semolina Cake. Flavoured with citrus.”

Cook's Tales, Vegan Treats

Chocs away…fudge it …and faff…seasonal vegan sweeties for sharing…because I’m vegan….

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but as it’s the season for such things I thought I’d turn my hand to sweeties, not least because I really don’t have a penchant for dark chocolate brazils…which come my way with unerring predictability ….because I’m vegan, and therefore probably an alien who likes chocolate brazils. ¬† (No offence intended if they’re your favourites.) ¬†Nevertheless, ’tis the season for sharing, and it’s nice to have a little plate of sweet nothings for when those visitors turn¬†up! ¬†Particularly if they say: ‘Is this really vegan?’ ūüôā

vegan homemade sweets

First I did fudge, which is the least faff, but requires a sugar thermometer.

In my household, it’s the dry crumbly fudge that’s a major hit, but the recipe below can be adapted to make a smoother softer fudge if preferred….in fact I might try a¬†smooth soft chocolate version before too long.

Second, I did a chocolate bonbon …. a zesty sharp lime syrup, embedded in white marzipan and coated in dark melted chocolate before scattering with cocoa powder and ground almonds. ¬†Faff ¬†alert!

Finally I threw a handful of raisins and roughly ground almonds in to the remaining melted chocolate and sprinkled with desiccated coconut for a coconut-coated fruit and nut cluster.

Scary as my chocolate decoration skills are….at least you can tell I went to art school more years ago than I care to mention! ¬† And they’ll taste the same…anyway….

a platter of vegan sweeties – great for sharing



Ingredients: ¬† Continue reading “Chocs away…fudge it …and faff…seasonal vegan sweeties for sharing…because I’m vegan….”