Archive | December, 2013

Toasted almond paste Christmas cake

21 Dec

Inspiration This is the final step in our #Vegan Christmas Cake Cookalong! About 10 years ago my dad got me the Ballymaloe cooking book and I have always want to do the baked Almond Christmas cake so this year I made it. I think it turned out great

sliced and enjoy :)

sliced and enjoy 🙂

1 Christmas cake (the vegan one we prepared earlier!)
Apricot jam

Almond paste
500g icing sugar
300g ground almonds
2 tablespoon brandy
1-2 teaspoon almond essence
100g warm golden syrup
Water if needed

Method place all your dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with the wet.
If still dry add some extra water or brandy
It should form a moist but not sticky ball.

Prep your cake

Remove any Greaseproof paper
And heat up enough Apricot jam to cover the cake this will help the almond paste stick.

The easy way is to roll out your almond paste in between two sheet sof cling film. Roll about 1/4 or less inch thick, large enough to cover the cake. (See picture)

When covered press down and remove excess almond paste

Place in a prepared 180c oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on it. It can burn easily.

Slice and enjoy.

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Dee’s Vegan Thai Veg Pot with Homemade Black Onion Seed Naan Bread

19 Dec

The sauce of Dee’s Thai Veg Pot is so delicious that’s it’s good to not waste even a drop! This #vegan Naan Bread is perfect, the black onion seeds are delicious a

Dee’s Thai Veg Pot with Homemade Black Onion Seed Naan Bread

You will need

1 Thai hot pot

1lb Flour – strong bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
7g (1packet) dried yeast
25g Oil/vegan butter
2 teaspoon black onion seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
300ml warm water

To make your bread.

Place the yeast in a small bowl with a little of the warm water. This step dissolves and “wakes up” the yeast. Leave for few minutes.

In a mixing bowl add the rest of your ingredients except the water. Using the dough-hook or the bread attachment on your mixer incorporate your ingredients (you can also use your hands).

Add the yeast and then add most of the warm water. If the dough looks too dry add the remaining water and mix on high five minutes.

When you mix or knead the dough it helps the quality and texture of the bread.

When finished mixing . Leave in a warm place and cover with a towel until it doubles in size.

When the dough has doubled in size. Mix or knead the dough again. This is known as “knocking back” the dough. This help to even the texture of the bread so it rises evenly.

Divide the dough into small roll sizes and cover and leave in a warm place and let rise again to double in size.

Preheat your oven to 200-220

Take a piece of dough and using a rolling pin. Roll it into the shape of a small pizza and grab one of the sides and pull to give it a triangular shape(see pictures)

Place on baking sheet and and cook for 5-7 min brush with cooked some melted vegan butter or olive oil.
And serve straight away.

Heat Dee’s Thai Veg Pot according to the instructions on the packet and serve with the fresh homemade vegan Naan Bread


This bread keeps well for 1-2 days just pop back into a warm oven to heat it up.

Can be made in bulk and frozen too.

You can flavour the butter with garlic or Thai spices if you so wish

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Fresh festive Mince pie

18 Dec

Last week we made the mincemeat so this week we are all set to make our #vegan mince pies yum.

all it need is some vegan ice cream or cream

all it need is some vegan ice cream or cream


1 jar Homemade mincemeat (recipe featured on blog last week)

50g Sugar
50g corn flour
250g vegan butter
350g flour
1-2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoon water or soya milk

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream until the sugar is almost dissolved.
Add the vanilla and mix for 1 minute while the mixer is running, turn the mixer to low and add the flour and cornflour little by little until all the flour is incorporated . If the pastry is too dry add a little water/soya milk , if it is too wet add a little more corn flour. The pastry should form a ball.

Half the pastry and wrap in cling film and let it chill in the fridge for a hour.

When chilled roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using a biscuit or cookie cutter (or different size glasses) cut a big circles for the main part of the pie and a smaller circle for the top.

Place the larger circle in a cupcake tray add mincemeat and place smaller circle in top pressing the edges to sealed it together and make little cuts on the top if the pie.

Bake for 15-20 min to until the top has gone a light-golden brown

Serve with some vegan whipped “cream” or vegan icecream, we like Swedish Glace or simply dust with a little icing sugar


If you have Christmas cookie cutter like a star or Christmas tree, you could cut out shape and place them on top for a fancy and extra festive mince pie!

You could also make mini mince pie for a Christmas party , New Years party or any other event over Christmas

Just make ahead of time and pop then in the oven before your guests arrive so they can enjoy warm mince pies. Serving with mulled wine, mulled apple juice or a mulled cider is optional : )

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Mince meat with brandy and apples

11 Dec

250g raisins
250g currents
250g sultana
120g mixed peel
120g glazed cherries(chopped)
150g flaked almonds
1 lemon
1 orange
1 grapefruit (zest and juice)
50-75ml of brandy
2 tablespoon of marmalade
1kg soft dark brown sugar
3 cooking apples
2 teaspoon mixed spiced
2 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon all spice
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1lb of vegetable suet

Peel and slice the apples . Place in a pot with a little water and cook until soft and cool.
Place the dried fruit ,mixed peel, almonds and cherries in a bowl.
Zest and juice the orange, lemon and grapefruit, add it to your dried fruit.
Add the marmalade, spices, the cooked apple, brandy and mix well. Add suet, mix again and let sit over night. Then place in jars or a large air tight container . Leave for at least 2 weeks before using. If you can wait that long!

This will keep up to a year in a cool place

I will use this to make mince pies soon:)


if you can’t find vegetable suet you can freeze a block of vegan butter and grate it. This will also do.

You can also make extra and put in a nice glass jar and give it away as a Christmas gift. It is easy just dress it with some nice ribbon and retro cloth.

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Festive Sweet Potato and Garlic Gratin

10 Dec

Festive Sweet Potato and Garlic Gratin

You will need:-

1 large sweet potato
2-3 large white potatoes
5 cloves of garlic chopped
600ml of soya cream
2 teaspoons of fresh Thyme
1 Leek or onion finely diced
2 teaspoons of oil

In a frying pan heat the oil and add leeks or onion and cook until caramelised and soft. Reduce heat, add thyme, in a separate heat the  soya cream, bring to the boil then turn off the heat add garlic and leave to the side.

Peel and slice your potatoes as thinly as possible using a mandolin, food processor or a sharp knife.

Grease an oven dish with the vegan butter or oil and season with salt and pepper.
place sliced potatoes in  layers of sweet/regular  in the dish  and even spread the onion on each layer , pour over soya cream,  and cover with liquids at least 1/2 way up the dish.

Cover with a sheet of parchment and then cover in tin foil and bake for 40-60 mins or until potatoes are soft. Remove tinfoil and parchment and place back in to over to brown @180+

When done, cool a little and serve


Can be cooked ahead of time when needed put in the oven and brown.

For a lighter option you can use just regular soya milk in replacement of soya cream.
And when cooked remove the excess liquids and thicken with corn flour and pour over the potatoes and then brown on top.

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Christmas Fruit and Chestnut Baked Herb Stuffing, with Dee’s Traditional Vegan Sausages.

10 Dec

Christmas Fruit and Chestnut Baked Herb Stuffing, with Dee’s Traditional Vegan Sausages.

You will need
1 packet of Dee’s Traditional Vegan Sausages
70g vegan butter/olive oil
Half an apple chopped
1 onion diced
4 cloves of garlic chopped
8 dried natural apricots chopped
200g pack of cook chestnuts chopped
Fresh herbs chopped
(Sage 15g ,rosemary 15g , thyme 10g , parsley 15g)
1/2 carrot cubes or grated
1 stick of celery diced
500ml of Stock
400-500g of good bread cut in cubes (use a GF bread will work just as well)


Heat oven and cook sausages according to instructions.
When cooked chop and leave to the side.
In a pan cook onion in vegan butter/oil until soft, add thyme, sage and rosemary cook for 3 mins. Add garlic cook for 2 mins more .
Turn off heat (use a big bowl if needed) and add carrots , parsley , celery, chestnuts , apple , apricots and parsley. Mix well.
Pour the stock in bit by bit. It should be really moist but still hold its shape.
Add sausages and mix, place in an oven dish and bake at 180 for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy on in the top. Goes great with the Festive nut loaf we featured last week.


If you don’t like chestnut or can’t find chestnuts you can use roasted chopped hazelnuts

And you can use dried cranberry or any dried fruit you like.

Used cooking apple or granny smiths to add a nice tart taste.

For the stock you can use a vegetable stock or a mushroom stock

Christmas cranberry sauce

2 Dec

Lots of you are looking for Christmas recipes.   This is an old recipe of mine for Cranberry Sauce that I have been using for years now.  It tastes like Christmas ! Hope you enjoy, Eoin

You will need

400g cranberries

3 whole star anise

1 orange

1 stick of cinnamon (1 teaspoon powered)

6 whole cloves

200g sugar

200g water or apple juice or orange juice


Zest the orange, cut in half and squeeze juice, keep one half, place cloves around the base of the orange (see pic). This just makes it easy to fish them out at the end it known as a “studded orange”

In a pot add juice/water, add zest, and the juice from the orange,  studded orange and cinnamon stick (broken) and cranberries. Bring to the boil and simmer, when they start popping add sugar and turn to low. Cook for 15 mins to get the full intensity of flavour.

Add more sugar if you like it sweeter or if you prefer it tart add less .

Can be made in advance and keeps well for 7-10 days


If you want to make this richer you can used a sweet red wine or port instead of water/ juice

You could also use half wine: half water/juice if you so wish.

Add chopped mint to this for a nice twist to confuse your taste buds. It’s different but pleasant and refreshing

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