Author: Laila

baking, dessert, sweet

COCONUT CARAMEL EASTER NESTS

vegan easter cake recipe

I’m sure some sort of colourful vegan mini eggs exist, but the first vegan eggs I found when I decided to do an easter recipe were standard dark chocolate ones. As I knew I wanted to make some easter nests, I decided to twist the traditional recipe slightly because although chocolate eggs on a chocolate nest would certainly taste good, it didn’t offer the contrast in colours that easter nests usually have (and I’m certainly a believer of the saying you ‘eat with your eyes’).

Instead of a chocolate easter nest, I’ve gone for coconut caramel. The use of coconut cream really thickens up the caramel and gives a smooth, creamy and rich sauce that pairs beautifully with the bitterness of the dark chocolate eggs. If you’re not able to get a carton of coconut cream, leave a can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight. When you come to make the easter nests, scoop out the thick cream from the top of the can.

This recipe is definitely one of the simpler sweet recipes I’ve shared on my blog, and this plus the easter theme means it’s the perfect recipe to make with children during one of April’s showers!

aquafaba, baking, dessert, sweet

CHOCOLATE HONEYCOMB CUPCAKES (vegan)

vegan chocolate cupcakes

Every time I tweak my vegan cupcake recipe I think it’s my best one ever, so there have been quite  few declarations of “No, this is definitely my final cupcake recipe!” throughout the past few months. However, I feel quite confident saying that this chocolate cupcake recipe is now my go-to one, and I finally feel like it doesn’t need any further changes. It originally came about as a modified version of my mini three tier cherry chocolate cake recipe, and I’ve used it to make many a birthday cupcake since, so I thought it was about time it appeared on the blog. The addition of vanilla icing and vegan honeycomb pieces make these chocolate honeycomb cupcakes an extremely indulgent and tasty treat!

baking, dinner, savoury, snacks

VEGAN RICOTTA, BASIL AND SUNDRIED TOMATO PINWHEELS

vegan ricotta cheese pinwheels

Today’s recipe is another vegan ricotta and sundried tomato recipe (see my previous recipe for vegan ricotta and sundried tomato ravioli), but this time with the addition of my favourite herb, basil.  I’ve tested this recipe with both dried basil and fresh basil, and this time dried basil won due to the more intense flavour. If, however, you find yourself with no dried basil, you can sub the dried basil for a large handful of fresh basil (finely chopped). It still tastes great that way, I just preferred the flavour with the dried.

Pinwheels are a favourite snack of mine because I love puff pastry (although not enough to attempt making my own yet!). Pinwheels are also really quick and easy to make which is great, because when I want a snack I want it as soon as possible! As well as making a great snack on their own, these pinwheels are great paired with a salad for a light lunch, or as a side to a tomato soup if you fancy a change from bread.

dinner, quick meals

MEXICAN COUSCOUS SALAD (vegan)

spicy couscous recipe

On my recent lemon basil pasta recipe post I mentioned that I had been working on getting together some quick and easy recipes for work nights where I don’t feel like (or don’t have the time to) spend a long time in the kitchen making dinner. This mexican couscous salad is my latest 10 minute recipe – all that’s required is to cover the couscous and spices with boiling water, chop or gather together the remaining ingredients and then mix and serve!

Leftovers store well in a sealed container in the fridge for around five days – just omit the nutritional yeast and avocado and add these just before serving the mexican couscous salad. There’s only two of us at my house, so I like to make up this full batch for dinner and have the leftovers for lunch at work the next day – so as well as being a quick and easy dinner, the leftovers also serve as a quick and easy lunch the next day too!

savoury, side or starter

VEGAN BACON (vegan, gluten free)

vegan bacon recipe

So aside from hearing that people could never go vegan because of cheese, the other excuse we vegans hear often is “but…bacon…”! I don’t know about you, but I definitely didn’t give up meat because I don’t like the taste, and the smoky saltiness of bacon is one of the flavours I’ve been trying to recreate since (but without, you know, the animal cruelty).

I’ve tried store bought vegan bacon, I’ve tried making vegan bacon out of seitan and I’ve even tried making vegan bacon out of coconut flakes, but none of them came close until my first attempt with tofu. I got the texture right on the first go but I wasn’t quite there with the flavour, so I’ve refined this recipe again and again until I got what I think is the best vegan bacon I’ve eaten. And I’m not just saying that because it’s my recipe. Promise!

breakfast, dessert, sweet

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES (vegan)

peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes

I went vegan in April 2015, so tomorrow is only my second pancake day as a vegan. Last year, I played it safe and went for some traditional crepe style pancakes served with lemon and sugar. This year, however, I wanted to go for a slightly more exciting pancake, and so I started working on a pancake recipe ahead of the day so that I knew the recipe would be perfected in time for pancake day! I love any kind of sweet dish that oozes gooey chocolate, so chocolate chip pancakes were a given. However, when I went to make chocolate chip pancakes, I spied our 1 kg tub of peanut butter sitting on the side, and decided peanut butter needed to be added to the mix too! These peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes are easy to make, and taste great served with extra chocolate and peanut butter on top, as well as your favourite fruit.

dinner, quick meals, savoury

LEMON BASIL PASTA (vegan)

lemon basil pasta recipe

Although I love spending time in the kitchen cooking, there’s always days where after a long day at work I just want to get home and get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. Recently, I’ve been trying to come up with some new recipes that are quick and easy but that don’t compromise on taste as a result. Pasta is often a go-to weeknight dish but I was growing slightly bored of the usual tomato sauce or pesto pasta, and so I came up with this lemon basil pasta dish instead. I’ve previously shared another 10 minute pasta recipe on the blog which can you take a look at here: one pot garlic harissa pasta recipe.

This lemon basil pasta takes just 10 minutes to make, and uses only 5 ingredients, so as well as being quick and easy, it’s also gentle on the purse strings! The lemon and basil make for a zesty and fresh base for the dish, and the nutritional yeast takes the dish from ‘good’ to ‘really good’ (although nutritional yeast seems to have this effect on most dishes!).

baking, sweet

STRAWBERRY ROSE COOKIES (vegan)

Do you ever have those days where just nothing you try in the kitchen goes right? I had one of those days when I started making these cookies. The cookies themselves were fine – they looked and tasted delicious! I was then originally going to coat them in melted dark chocolate and leave to set. But I just could not melt chocolate successfully – my makeshift bain marie really failed me that day! I ended up eating lumpy half melted dark chocolate and shoving the cookies in the freezer, vowing to try again another day.

However, it ended up being a blessing in disguise, as I decided that the flavour of the dark chocolate would end up overpowering the subtle rose flavour. Instead, I thought I’d incorporate the rose water into an icing and top with freeze dried strawberries. And so these strawberry rose cookies were borne. Mine are heart shaped, to fit in with this week’s Valentine’s theme, but you can cut these into any shape you like if you’re not making them for your Valentine.

baking, dessert, sweet

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE BROWNIES (vegan)

salted caramel chocolate brownies with pretzels

Not so long ago I posted a recipe for a salted caramel apple pie. When I first tested the recipe for that, I ended up with leftover salted caramel sauce, so I had think about what other sweet treat I could come up with to use it up. I’d been planning to make my chocolate orange brownies that weekend, so instead decided to combine the two to make salted caramel chocolate brownies.

The gooey-ness of the salted caramel chocolate brownies combined with the crunchy topping of the salted pretzels makes for an interesting and tasty texture combination.

aquafaba, dinner, savoury

VEGAN RICOTTA AND SUNDRIED TOMATO RAVIOLI (vegan)

vegan ravioli recipe process

Vegan friendly pasta is readily available at supermarkets as long as you stick to dry pasta. However, for those wanting to branch out a bit from the standard fusilli or penne, finding vegan ravioli is a lot more challenging. Ravioli pasta is usually made with egg, and the vegetarian versions pretty much always contain cheese. With this in mind, once I’d perfected my vegan ricotta cheese recipe, the next recipe I began working on was a vegan ravioli recipe that would use the ricotta cheese. I used aquafaba to replace the egg and found that pasta is surprisingly easy to make – even without a pasta machine! The intense flavour of the sundried tomato in this ravioli means that you only need to serve the pasta with a bit of olive oil or vegan butter rather than loading on a flavour-heavy sauce.