Thursday, 28 February 2013

Foodie Pen Pals

I’m cheating a little bit for this month’s Foodie Pen Pal reveal day as I haven’t actually taken part this month! I’m currently away with work for three weeks and knew I wouldn't have the time to put together a decent parcel for my chosen recipient (or have the time to fully appreciate anything I was sent) so regrettably I had to bow out for a month.

Last month however my parcel hadn’t arrived prior to reveal day. This was due to a number of unfortunate events that had effected the pen pal who was sending a parcel my way.  But although slightly belated I thought I should share what Marian sent me as it was a great little parcel.

There were;

Free from chocolate chip cookies (that were gluten and dairy free) – these soon got snaffled up by my colleagues and were really rather tasty.

Chocolate rice cakes – I’ve tried a number of savoury varieties of rice cakes before but not the sweeter versions and the chocolately kick on these is certainly kills a chocolate craving.

Choco decs and sugar balls – these will definitely be used in some baking soon (well once I get home from my work trip and am back in my own kitchen).

And then three little jars;

Lemon Curd – I love anything lemony and lemon curd is one of my favourites!

Onion Marmalade – again something I adore

Whisky marmalade – I’m not such a big fan of whisky but my housemate certainly is so she is likely to be helping me out with this one.

So thanks again Marian for the lovely parcel, it was worth the wait!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Vegan Oat Biscuits

I’m away with work at the moment (hence my general tardiness on blog updates….so apologies for that). And although I am being put up in a lovely little flat while away so that I have the full use of kitchen facilities to cater for myself without my jam packed kitchen cupboards full of my culinary basics it is hard to get creative in the kitchen. Before I left home however I got busy baking to use up some slightly bashed bananas and made these oaty, banana biscuits that provided a perfect road trip snack. Using coconut oil as well these little cookies are vegan so a great addition to my blog.


150g brown sugar
4 tblspns molasses
100ml coconut oil
2 bananas, mashed
Seeds scraped out from ½ vanilla pod
50g dates, chopped
200g oats
150g oat bran
1 tspn baking powder
150g plain flour

Makes approx. 28 biscuits

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

Melt the sugar, molasses and coconut oil together in a large saucepan. Once melted and fully combined remove the pan from the heat.

Add the mashed banana, chopped dates and vanilla seeds to the saucepan and mix together.

Finally add the remaining dry ingredients to the pan and mix until well combined.

Take small portions of mixture and form into balls. Place the balls of mixture onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment and press down into a disc shape with the back of a fork.

Bake the biscuits in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to allow to cool.

These biscuits will store well in an airtight container.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Gluten Free and Vegan Lentil Pancakes

Last year I successfully made both vegan pancakes and gluten free pancakes in anticipation of pancake day. So this year I decided to combine the two and make a gluten free and vegan pancake. This recipe was inspired by Indian dosa and really couldn’t be easier as it only contains two simple ingredients, chana dal (yellow lentils) and water. This results in a pretty plain pancake but leaves open the possibility of many different flavour additions depending on whether you want to follow the sweet or savoury direction for these shrove Tuesday treats. For a little spice a great addition would be a few cumin seeds, or alternatively a goof dollop of honey would sweeten the batter up nicely.


110 g Chana Dal (yellow lentils)

125 ml water

Makes 4 pancakes

Rinse the lentils and then soak in the water overnight.

Transfer the lentils and water in which they were soaking to a food processor and blitz to form a smooth batter. The desired final consistency should coat the back of a spoon but not be so thick that it can’t be easily poured into a saucepan. If a little too thick add more water until a thinner batter is achieved.

Heat a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the saucepan and once the oil is hot transfer a ladle of the batter into the pan. Use the back of the ladle or a spoon to spread the mixture evenly across the pan.

These pancakes take a little longer to cook than you traditional crepe so leave for 2 to 3 minutes before loosening the mixture around the edges with a spatula.

Once the underside is cooked and loosened from the pan these pancakes can be properly flipped (which can be seen here) which is all impotant from some proper pancake day fun. Then allow to cook for another couple of minutes so that both sides are golden brown.

I chose to eat these with a savoury stuffy of guacamole and tomato salsa but they would also be great with slices of banana and a generous drizzle of maple syrup!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Vegetarian Scotch Eggs

I love being able to access the viewing statistics for my blog, seeing which ransom search terms have led people to my sight and discovering that I suddenly have a regular following from Malaysia. It is also interesting to see which of my posts are most popular. The forerunner on popularity is my porkless ‘pork’ pie recipe which has had more than triple the amount of vies of any other post on my blog. I am pretty chuffed with this as it was a recipe I put a lot of time and effort into developing. And so I thought it was time to make another vegetarian version of a meaty British snack food….and so I bring you the vegetarian Scotch egg!


75g red split lentils
100g polenta (plus a little extra for coating the scotch eggs)
50g oat bran
1 large carrot (peeled and grated)
50g shallots (finely diced)
1 heaped teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground mace
4 eggs
Corn/Vegetable Oil for frying

Makes 4

Begin by placing the lentils in a saucepan, cover with cold water and place over a medium heat. Bring the lentils to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes until tender. Once cooked drain the lentils and place to one side to cool slightly.

In another pan cook the eggs in boiling water for approx. 6 minutes until just hard boiled. Drain the eggs and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle peel the eggs and again place to one side until the rest of the mixture is ready.

Place the polenta in a pan, cover with 400ml boiling water and place over a medium heat continually stirring until the polenta thickens and a smooth mash potato like consistency is achieved.

Finally sauté the shallots in a little oil until soft and translucent. Add the grated carrot and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the polenta into a large missing bowl and combine with the lentils, oat bran, shallots, carrots, mustard, thyme, mace and paprika. Use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients together.

To construct the scotch eggs take a handful of the mixture (about 1/8th of the mixture) and form into a burger shaped disc. Placed one of the shelled eggs into the centre of the disc and slowly wrap the mixture around the egg. Take another 1/8th of the mixture, form into another disc and place over the top of the half covered egg gently moulding the two discs of mixture together so that the egg is completely covered. Repeat this process with the remaining three eggs.

Place a little extra polenta onto a small plate and roll each egg in the mixture until coated in the polenta.

Take a deep saucepan and pour in the oil until it is about 5cm deep. Place the pan over a medium heat and heat up to 180-190°C. Once the oil has reached the desired temperature transfer one scotch egg at a time into the pan using a slotted spoon (be careful as the oil is really hot and may splash and spit as you place the egg into the pan). Fry the eggs for approx. 8 minutes, turning frequently until golden brown.

Carefully remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on a plate covered with paper kitchen towel to help absorb any excess oil.

The eggs are now ready to eat!