vegan, gluten free party cake!

Since we both started eating plant based, we haven’t made any wedding cakes or celebration cakes as we didn’t have a gluten free vegan cake recipe we thought could hold up to all the decorations. But with the advent of Alex’s gorgeous cake recipe that we published a few weeks ago, we were all go again!

It was my nephews 1st birthday party today, and my sister and brother in law had asked if we’d make the cake. We were so happy to be asked!

Designing cakes is really one of our favourite things. So we made a parade cake, with Jimmy’ s (and our…) favourite characters and toys. We had a great time with sugarpaste making the animals!

We’re so pleased with how it came out, and it tasted great too!

No recipe this time, but we really wanted to share the photos!



We also made some rather sophisticated black forest cupcakes for the adults as a counterpoint to the rainbow bright birthday cake, we’ll post photos of them tomorrow…

By E and A


Vegan sour cream, and sour cream and chive dip

This is so good! And when mixed with the chives, the result is phenomenal! It has the sour cream tang, a lovely creaminess, and it melts!

 It takes a bit of time to strain the soy yoghurt, but other than that it really couldn’t be easier or quicker  to make.

I’ve had a couple of plays around with this recipe, swapping out different ingredients, trying alternate ways to incorporate it together but have come to the conclusion that simplicity is best!


500g pot of plain (no sugar) soy yoghurt

50g of coconut oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

Pinch of salt

If making the chive variant then 

5g chives

A bit more salt to taste

Mix the lemon juice and pinch of salt into the yoghurt , then set it straining over a large bowl, I used muslin cloth to strain my yoghurt, but a coffee filter would do just as well. Leave in the fridge overnight.


just about to go in the fridge

The next day take the strained yoghurt and put in a clean bowl.

Melt the coconut oil and whisk it into the thickened yoghurt till glossy and smooth.

Pop back into the fridge to firm up a bit more.

Snip the chives up into small pieces and stir through the soured cream adding more salt to taste, leave for an hour or so to help the flavours blend.


starting to melt .. stuffed inside charred baby sasan marzano tomatoes..

By A


Creamy baked pasta with mushrooms, leeks and broccoli

Gluten free pasta is funny stuff…

Since myself and Alex first started using it we’ve noticed its quite annoying ability, if not eaten soon after it’s cooked, to suck up every last drop of sauce added to it while magically acquiring the texture of uncooked pasta once it’s cooled again!

The trick with it then, seems to be to make much more sauce than you’d think you need, and then make a bit more… And, as I found with this recipe, bake it straight from dried in the sauce!

I made a fairly thin sauce using the traditional roux method, but with olive oil, rice flour and soy milk rather than the usual wheat and dairy ingredients.

This time I made it a few hours before eating, and then saved some in the fridge for two days, and it stayed soft, and reheated well both times. Hooray!

Creamy gluten free pasta bake, yum!

Creamy gluten free baked pasta, yum!

makes 4 servings

150 g gluten free pasta

250 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, halved lengthwise and sliced

100 g broccoli, in small florets (I used tenderstem)

2 tbsp rice flour

400 ml soy milk

100 ml water

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp mustard, I used american style yellow mustard

15 g fresh basil, chopped (leaves and stems)

1 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.

In a large ovenproof casserole dish, heat the oil on a medium heat and saute the mushrooms for around 5 minutes until they have softened and released their liquid. Mix in the rice flour, it will absorb all of the liquid and go a bit clumpy. Cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time. Add the soy milk 100 ml at a time stirring well between each addition as the sauce thickens and becomes smooth.

While the sauce is cooking, steam the leeks in a microwave for 3 minutes 30 seconds.

Add the leeks, water, nutritional yeast, mustard, basil, oregano and salt and pepper to the mushroom sauce and mix. Stir through the dried pasta. Put the lid on the casserole dish and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and mix in the broccoli. Bake for a further 10 minutes.

By E.


Roast veg and green lentil salad with white miso and ginger dressing

This is such a tasty, and easy salad to put together. The dressing really lifts the flavours, using sweet white miso, warming ginger, sharp lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. 


ready for lunch

I’m using tinned green lentils, which are a great store cupboard staple.

Serves 1.

200g cooked green lentils (about half a tin)

1 courgette sliced 

About haf a dozen small mushrooms quartered


1 tsp white miso

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade

Pop the chopped courgette and mushrooms on a baking sheet, spray lightly with oil and put in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are browning and cooked through.

Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing then pour over the lentils.

Go and have a nice cup of tea while the lentils macerate and the veg cooks.

Finish cup of tea, take veg out of oven and mix into the lentils.

By A


Carrot, leek and courgette bakes with avocado filling

I suppose these bakes are a little like a rosti, being made of grated vegetables. But here I’ve flavoured the mixture with lemon zest, ginger and coriander seed for a bit of a change!

The seasonings give the bakes a lovely fresh flavour, and the avocado in the centre adds a creamy texture.

The mixture is quite wet, with only potato to hold them together, but I really wanted to make these without using any type of flour to detract from the flavour of the vegetables. They’re a bit tricky to flip half way through the cooking time, but they’re worth the effort!

Carrot, leek and courgette bakes with avocado filling

Carrot, leek and courgette bakes with avocado filling

makes 6

1 carrot, grated, about 135 g

1 courgette, grated, about 200 g

1 leek, halved and thinly sliced

250 g potato, I used 3 small ones

5 cm fresh ginger, grated

zest of half a lemon

1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

salt and pepper

1/2 an avocado, mashed

3 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

Cook the potatoes until just starting to go tender, I did mine in the microwave which took 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Steam the leeks, I used the microwave again, which took 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Slosh the oil onto a tray, and heat it in the oven.

Grate the cooked potatoes. I chop up the big bits of potato skin left after grating too, they add great flavour and texture.

Mix the carrot, leek, courgette, potato, ginger, lemon zest, coriander seed and salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Take a small handful of the vegetable mixture and squeeze it to get some of the liquid out. Flatten it out in your palm and put a spoonful of avocado in the middle. Top with another handful of mixture and squash it down well. Repeat for the other 5.

Take the tray out of the oven and carefully transfer the bakes to the hot oil. Cook for 25 minutes and then gently turn them over. It doesn’t matter if they break up a little, just push them back together. Bake for a further 20 minutes, until the edges are caramelised.

By E.


Green tomato and orange chilli sauce

A colleague at work gave me a bag of green tomatoes this week, lovely little cherry ones!

I’ve never cooked with them before, and although chutney is an obvious choice, it’s not something I use a lot of. Chilli sauce on the other hand, I’m very fond of!

Happily, I have a scotch bonnet chilli, which is hotter than the varieties I usually buy, but I thought it had to be worth a go…

As scotch bonnets are often used in Caribbean cooking, I thought I’d use flavours reminiscent of a jerk marinade.

The resulting sauce has a gorgeous fruity, tangy flavour with the herbs and spices coming through nicely. And then the heat appears… For my tastes half a scotch bonnet is just right. Hot, but not nose runningly so! But feel free to adjust the amount of chilli, and to be honest it’d be a great sauce even without it!

Fruit and chilli for the sauce

Fruit and chilli for the sauce, the tiny green tomatoes are so pretty!

makes about 250 ml

200 g green tomatoes, diced (or leave them whole if they’re the cherry variety like mine!)

1/2 scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped

1 orange, juice and zest

1 apple, peeled and diced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf

7 dried allspice berries

zest of 1 lime

a large pinch of salt

Put all of the ingredients in a saucepan on a medium heat.

Ready to be cooked

Ready to be cooked

Cook, stirring often until the green tomatoes and apple have broken down into a sauce and the whole lot has thickened nicely. Mine took 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes...

After 15 minutes…

Remove the allspice berries and bay leaf, and blend until smooth.

And now we have sauce! Yum.

And now we have sauce! Yum.

By E.


Vegan ‘egg’ mayo

For sandwich Friday a couple of weeks ago we fancied something a bit different…

I made tofu ‘egg’ mayo a couple of times a while ago (when I ate vegetarian rather than plant based), using the recipe from the mori-nu website, and although it’s very tasty and surprisingly egg like, it contains honey. I tried it once without the honey and it didn’t work at all! So it was time to come up with my own recipe.

I was very taken with the soy flour mayo I made for this recipe, so that became my base. And along with black salt for ‘egginess’, and cress because you can’t have egg mayo without it, it made an astonishingly close replication!

It’s silly really, when I ate eggs I really wasn’t fond of egg mayo, but this version has a much nicer texture and mouthfeel as well as being so tasty and very moreish.

Just a note about the black salt. It loses its flavour over time, so if you’re making the sandwich filling in advance, mix the black salt through just before making the sandwiches. It’s fine overnight though.

Oh, and the bread in the photo is a Bfree loaf. Vegan, gluten free and perfect for sandwiches!

Vegan 'egg' mayo sandwiches!

Vegan ‘egg’ mayo sandwiches!

enough for 4 sandwiches

349 g firm silken tofu (1 standard tetrapak)

2 tbsp cress

for the mayo

2 tbsp soy flour

3 tbsp oil

3 tbsp soy milk

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

pinch of English mustard powder

1/4 tsp black salt

Whizz together all of the mayo ingredients in a mini blender until well combined and thickened. I use the attachment from my immersion blender.

Put the tofu and mayo in a bowl and mix, breaking the tofu up into chunks. It’s nicest if it has a bit of texture. Stir the cress through.

Pile on to sandwiches!

By E.


Roast baby kale and apple salad with orange marinade and lentils

It’s finally getting colder here, there’s a refreshing snap in the air in the mornings now. It’s actually starting to feel like autumn! But the sun is still hot in the afternoons, so my original idea for a hearty salad using baby kale felt like it needed a brighter note. I have a few oranges left over from summer cup cocktails a couple of weeks ago, so I made a herby, smoky, orangey marinade to roast the apples and kale in. It works really well, adding a sweetness and citrus hit to the rich kale and tart apples, without overpowering them. I’ve added some roasted almonds for protein and flavour, and overall it makes a very satisfying and interesting dish. And tasty too of course!

My baby button hole kale was from asda and is a whole little plant with stems and leaves (see the picture below), but you could use normal kale or any dark leaved cabbage, just adjust the cooking time if you’re using leaves only.

Baby kale and apple salad with orange marinade and lentils

Roast baby kale and apple salad with orange marinade and lentils

serves 2

2 baby button hole kale, quartered

1 apple, sliced (the eating kind rather than a cooker, it’s better if it holds its shape)

1 400 g tin of green lentils, drained and rinsed (or cook your own, around 80 g of dried)

40 g salted roast almonds

for the marinade

1 orange, zest and juice

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp liquid smoke or smoked paprika

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Baby button hole kale, whole...

A baby button hole kale, whole…

And quartered!

And two quartered!

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

First start the marinade. Put the orange juice, orange zest, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in a bowl and mix together. Set aside for ten minutes or so, this allows the dried herbs to soften and start to release their flavour.

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the kale. Cook at a fast simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the kale and put it in a large roasting tin, along with the apple slices.

Add the liquid smoke, olive oil and some salt and pepper to the marinade, mix and then tip over the vegetables. Mix well to make sure everything is coated, and then arrange the apples around the edge of the tray, leaving the kale in the middle. Roast for 10 minutes, and then turn everything over. Pop back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. When it’s done the kale should be just starting to crisp at the edges and the apple should be soft, and golden from the orange juice.

Remove the kale and apple to a bowl, and mix the lentils and almonds through the remaining marinade in the roasting tin.

To serve, put a few lentils in the bottom of each dish and then pile the kale and apples on top, finishing with the rest of the lentils.

By E.


Carrot, cabbage, avocado and millet salad

I had some cooked millet left over from burger making earlier, and really fancied using it in a salad for my lunch. A quick recce showed I had red cabbage, a carrot, and a very ripe avocado .. I can certainly do something with that!

so pretty, and rather yummy too

I’ve used the vegetable peeler to get long thin strips of the carrot, but grating it would work just as well.

When dressing the vegetables do remember to keep a teaspoon of the dressing in reserve to drizzle artfully over the avocado!

Serves 2.


For the salad:

150g cooked millet

1 medium carrot (mine weighed 130g)

75g red cabbage, shredded. (This was about a quarter of a small cabbage)

1 ripe avocado

For the dressing:

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2tbsp apple cider vinegar

Juice of half a lime (about 2tbsp)

Half a tsp dried tarragon (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together.

the dressing

Peel the carrot then use the vegetable peeler to slice it into long strips

Toss the carrot and cabbage together in a bowl with all but a teaspoon of the dressing and leave to sit for 10 minutes to macerate slightly.

Add the millet to the veg and mix through.

Arrange daintily on a plate and top with half a sliced avocado per portion, finish with the last drizzle of dressing.
By A


Radish, fennel and pea shoot salad with mint sauce quinoa

This is another lovely work lunch born of ingredients that looked great in the shops! It can be so difficult sometimes to come up with new ideas for an interesting lunch, but a trip to the greengrocers or supermarket gives me inspiration in spades. What cook could fail to be overjoyed at displays of beautiful vegetables with such varied colours and shapes! Not to mention flavours…

So here we have fennel, thinly sliced and roasted so that the thinnest bits frizzle and the thicker pieces have some chew still, but in a lovely jammy way. And radishes, raw this time, for crunch, with the leaves from the bunch wilted to stir through the quinoa. And the quinoa! With an English mint sauce dressing, it’s my favourite way yet to eat it. There’s pea shoots too for the lovely sweet flavour and freshness, so good with mint. This salad came together beautifully, it has great flavours, but just as importantly, texture.

Radish, fennel and pea shoot salad with mint sauce quinoa

Radish, fennel and pea shoot salad with mint sauce quinoa

serves 2

for the salad

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 tsp olive oil

a pinch of salt

100 g quinoa, rinsed

300 ml just boiled water

radish leaves if using

8 radishes, cut into little wedges

2 large handfuls of pea shoots

for the mint sauce dressing

15 – 20 g mint leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp cider vinegar

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.

Toss the fennel with the oil and salt and roast for around 30 minutes until the thinnest pieces are frizzled and golden brown and the thicker pieces are cooked through.

When the fennel is cooked, push it to one side of the roasting tin and add the radish leaves (if using), to the other. Pop the tray back into the oven and turn it off. The radish leaves will wilt in the residual heat, just like spinach would.

While the fennel is roasting, cook the quinoa with the water for around 15 minutes, until the little white part of the grain is released and the whole of it is tender. Drain the quinoa.

To make the mint sauce, whizz all of the ingredients in a mini blender. I use the attachment from my immersion blender. Alternatively, bash it a together in a pestle and mortar until well combined. Mix the sauce through the quinoa. It will taste quite vinegary at this stage, don’t worry, the flavour will mellow as it cools.

To assemble the salad, mix the radish leaves through the quinoa and then top with the fennel, radishes and pea shoots.

By E.