Vegan Christmas Pudding

A little while ago I was asked to take part in the John Lewis “Stir-up Sunday” Christmas pudding making event at Waitrose Cookery School, and boy was it ACE.

Ok so basically I’d never heard of Stir-up Sunday before, but apparently it’s a thing.  A real thing where people gather together and make delicious Chrimbo puddings – whoop!  Read all about it here if you wanna, because the more you know… etc.

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My creation. SO boozy. SO delicious.

The aim of the evening was to make our very own puddings to take home with us, and while we waited for them to cook we could partake in a bit of cocktail making, food eating and general gossip, chit chat and “getting to know you” kind of vibes.  There were about 20 of us there and we were split into four teams for the purpose of pud making.  Shout out to the vegan squad – we were so high in number that we had to be split into TWO groups #teamvegan.

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Long Winter Negronis that we made ourselves because we’re awesome cocktail makers now.

The pud making itself was surprisingly easy, and the ingredients aren’t that difficult to source.  Considering I’m not a huge fan of Christmas pudding, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome – meaning, it was hot damn tasty.

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Our gorgeous dinner – all vegan AND gluten free. BOOM.

John Lewis have kindly allowed us to share the recipe for the pudding, which I’ve included below.  Check out their write up of the evening here too, which also includes the recipe and some photos taken on the night.

I couldn’t actually wait until Christmas to try the puds, so I’ve already demolished my two (I had help…).  They were absolutely gorgeous, so if you plan on making traditional Christmas puddings this year, you should give this one a go.  Top notch, guys.

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The end result – vegan Christmas pudding (photo courtesy of John Lewis)

Ingredients

25g dairy-free soya spread
1 tbsp milled flaxseed
60g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
25g coconut oil, melted
40ml black treacle
55ml stout
1 tbsp dark rum
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
40g peeled, cored and coarsely grated Bramley apple, mixed with lemon juice
10g blanched almonds, roasted and chopped
75g currants
20g mixed peel
20g Forest Feast sour cherries
200g vegan mincemeat

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease 4 mini pudding basins and 4 small circles of baking parchment with the soya spread and set aside. Mix the flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of cold water and set aside for at least ten minutes, or until it becomes jelly-like and makes a ‘flax egg’.

Sift the self-raising flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves into a medium mixing bowl, then add the flax egg and the melted coconut oil. Mix the treacle with the stout and rum in a measuring jug. Pour this mixture into the bowl and whisk everything together thoroughly. Stir in the lemon zest, apple, almonds, currants, peel, cherries and mincemeat.

Divide the mixture between the prepared basins and top each one with a circle of greased parchment. Wrap each basin in an 18cm square of foil and fold under the edges of the basins.

Place the basins into a roasting tin and pour in enough boiling water to come 2.5cm up the sides of the basins. Carefully place the tin in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the puddings are springy and firm to the touch in the centre. Remove from the oven, unwrap, remove the parchment and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Carefully run a small knife around each one and turn out onto warm serving plates.

 

Time to make: 15 minutes to mix the ingredients, 50 minutes to bake, 10 minutes standing time = 75 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 1.5, so simple to make, basically just mix and shove in the oven

#nowplaying: Julian Casablancas – I Wish It Was Christmas Today

 

 

Chocolate tofu cheesecake

How do you make a “healthy” dessert that doesn’t look or taste healthy?  Make this vegan chocolate cheesecake with silken tofu.  EASY.

Ok ok, there’s plenty of chocolate in here but when you hold that up against the silken tofu (all that protein!), the dates (so fibrous!), the almonds (hello vitamin E!) and the hemp milk (oh heyyyyyy calcium!) you’d be hard pressed to find a healthier cheesecake in a non-vegan recipe.  But we don’t do non-vegan around these parts, do we?

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*wipes drool off chin*

And the ridiculous thing is, it tastes delicious.  Don’t be put off by the tofu – it really doesn’t taste like it.  I had a mild panic attack when I put the the silken tofu in the blender without any of the other ingredients and gave it a whizz, as it smelled so much like tofu.  No one wants to eat cake that tastes and smells like tofu, unless you’re hardcore vegan level 5,890 or something.

Adding the melted chocolate, vanilla, cacao powder and agave ensured that the filling tasted not like tofu at all.  In fact, the urge to lick not only the food processor, but stick my finger in the filling itself was overwhelming.  You can even just make the filling without the base and have yourself a tofu mousse (SO GOOD).

And the best thing about this recipe?  No baking.  The joys!

Go nuts with the toppings – raspberries, cream, nuts, chocolate shavings etc. and create something you really want to eat.  I just popped some hazelnuts on the top and circled with some cacao nibs for this one.

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Sexy cross-section viewz

Here’s the recipe, go forth and veganize, folks.

Ingredients

Base

1 cup almonds (most other nuts (hazelnuts, pecans) can also be used)

1 cup medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Filling

200g dark chocolate

350g silken tofu (DO NOT use firm tofu! You will regret it…)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoons plant milk (I used hemp, but soy, almond or oat will also work)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon agave

Instructions

Pulse the almonds with a pinch of salt in a food processor with a sharp blade until relatively fine. I kept mine a little chunky, but it’s personal choice!

Add the pitted dates and pulse/blend until well combined.  You want the mix to hold together when you press it in your hands.  It might look loose and not sticky when you’re blending, but give it a squash with your hands and you’ll know if it’s ready to go.

Line a 9 inch spring-form tin with clingfilm or baking paper.

Transfer the blended ingredients to the spring-form tin and press down firmly.  I use my fingers because it’s easier to get the base even around the sides.  Press, press, press and put aside.

Melt the chocolate using a bain marie method (see here) until smooth.

While the chocolate is melting, add the tofu to your (cleaned) food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients (cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla extract, plant milk, agave and salt) and blend until smooth.

Taste (try not to eat the entire mix…) and adjust with more agave if needed.

Transfer the chocolate tofu mix to the cake base and smooth over the top, ensuring an even spread of chocolate mix across the cake.

Add your favourite toppings.

Place in the fridge and chill.  Best served straight from the fridge, but can be served at room temperature.

Time to make: 10 minutes base, 10 minutes melting chocolate, 10 minutes filling, 5 minutes putting together = 35 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, relatively simple, just a faff making the two parts separately

#nowplaying: Isis Unveiled – …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Matcha-lime cheesecake (vegan/raw)

Probably the sexiest thing I have ever made to date…

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I recently bought a (very expensive) small packet of matcha on a whim and wasn’t sure what kind of recipe to incorporate it into.  There are so many options for adding matcha to sweet treats, so making a raw cheesecake seemed like a good option.  I’m a big fan of citrus fruits, and matcha kinda goes with lime (they’re both green, right?!) – and adding pineapple to the second layer makes it ultra citrus-y and delicious.

img_6649There are plenty of recipes for raw cheesecakes online, so just search around for what you think you might like and go from there.  As with all the recipes on this blog this one is dairy and egg free.

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If you have a spare day on the weekend you’ll smash this one… patience you must have, my young padawan 😉

 

Ingredients

Base

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup almonds (you can sub for any other nut here – hazelnuts or pecans would work)

6 medjool dates

Middle layer

1 cup cashews soaked for at least 4 hours (best overnight if possible)

1/2 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup pineapple pieces (fresh or from a tin)

1/2 cup agave or brown rice syrup

Top layer

1/2 cup cashews (again, soaked overnight)

1/3 cup coconut milk

2 Tbsp agave or brown rice syrup

juice of two limes

1 Tbsp matcha powder

 

Method

Base layer – Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until well combined, around 60 seconds.  Scrape down the side as necessary.

Transfer to a small springform cake tin, lined with baking parchment.  Press down evenly.

Transfer tin to the fridge/freezer while you work on the second layer.

Middle layer – Add the cashews to the blender and blend until almost smooth.  Scrape down the sides as necessary.

Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Remove your cake tin from the fridge/freezer and add the blended middle layer to the top, using the back of a spatula to ensure even coverage.

Transfer cake tin to the freezer and allow to freeze for at least one hour.

Top layer – As with the middle layer, blend the cashews first.

Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  If the colour is too pale green add some more matcha and blend again.

Remove the cake tin from the freezer (after allowed hour) and transfer the top layer onto the middle layer.

Smooth with the back of a spatula and then place back in the freezer.

Allow at least an hour to freeze.

When ready to serve, allow five to ten minutes out of the freezer before cutting.

 

Time to make: 15 minutes for each layer, 2 hours in the freezer = 2 hours 45 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 3.5, each layer is kinda straightforward, but there’s the fun of going back and forth to the freezer.

#nowplaying Deap Vally – Smile More