Vegan Scottish Tablet

Scottish tablet title
I’m no sports fan but I have to say that the Commonwealth Games have piqued my interest and even raised some weirdly nationalistic emotions in me (and I am certain I haven’t got a drop of Scottish blood in me, sadly). Ross Murdoch, who is a student at my university, won a gold medal in the men’s 200 metres breaststroke final. I see those athletes when I go to the university swimming pool for a leisurely swim, and I’m so proud of them and what they’re doing. Go team Scotland! :) I’m actually going to see the gymnastics tomorrow, so if you happen to see me come and say hi!
Scottish tablet 3.1
It seems fitting then to share a typically Scottish recipe with you today. I was holding out on this one because the weather was just too nice not to share my ice cream and summer recipes with you, but what better occasion to have tablet than while watching the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow?
Scottish tablet 8.1
For those of you not familiar with this Scottish delicacy (and I was one of you less than a year ago) tablet is sort of like fudge but with condensed milk added to the mix. Needless to say that butter and condensed milk are decidedly not suitable for a vegan diet. Thankfully vegan butter and coconut milk will do the trick! This recipe does take a wee while to make as you need to patiently condense the coconut milk and be careful not to let the sugar burn, so stay by your stove at all times! And yes, there is a frightening amount of sugar involved… But the great thing about this recipe is that it only requires four ingredients!
Scottish tablet 2.1

Scottish Tablet

  • Servings: makes 12 large pieces
  • Print

Adapted from this BBC Good Food recipe.

500g (1lb) demerara/unrefined cane sugar (not soft brown sugar)
180g (1 + 1/4 cup) vegan butter
75ml (1/3 cup) coconut cream (scoop the fat out of a can of chilled full-fat coconut milk)
125ml (1/2 cup) water

In a large saucepan heat the water and add the butter.

When the butter has melted and the water is just about to boil, add all of the sugar to the pan. Dissolve the sugar in the hot buttery water, stirring regularly.

Bring the liquid to the boil, then lower to a simmer.

Add the coconut cream after a few minutes of gentle simmering. Keep stirring for the next 20 minutes. The sugary liquid is going to bubble up a lot (hence the importance of a large saucepan) so you must keep on eye on it. After twenty minutes it will have reduced considerably and become a thick, creamy sauce.

Test the consistency of the mixture by dropping a little on a cold side plate; if it sets within 30 seconds, it’s ready.

Remove the mixture from the heat. Pour into a large mixing bowl and beat ferociously for 10 minutes. (An electric whisk is convenient at this point, but you may also consider this your workout for the day.) Then pour into a shallow tray of 13cm x 18cm ( 5 inches x 7 inches). Cool on a wire rack before transferring to the freezer for at about half an hour.

Slice into 12 large (or 24 small) cubes.

Enjoy with a good cup of tea or coffee for a delightful afternoon treat!

If you’re watching the Commonwealth Games, who are you rooting for? 

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Love and cookies,

My Favourite Vegan Summer Desserts – Recipe Round-Up!

9 Vegan Summer Recipes 2
When summer rolls around I often hear people complaining that it’s too hot to eat rich, sweet foods… Not me! Let’s be honest, there is no alternate reality in which I am not eating dessert every day. Especially in northern Europe where our summers are frightfully short and we have to make the most of our summer fruits while they last, there are all too many excuses to make delectable sweet treats. These are just a handful of my favourite ones – you know it was hard to choose!

Strawberry frozen yogurt on an almond butter-dipped cone
strawberry froyo ab cones - best summer desserts
If you were not yet aware of my love affaire with almond butter, let me tell you about. Or rather, let me show you. Chocolate-dipped cones haven’t got a chance compared to almond butter. It’s a summery take on the traditional peanut butter and jam combo.

Ginger beer mango coconut ice cream float
ginger beer float - best summer desserts
I love these Fentiman’s ginger beer bottles, they look so cute and vintage – and the drink itself isn’t half bad, either. The ginger beer paired with the creaminess of the mango and coconut is something you really have to try for yourself.

Pistachio and espresso ice cream sandwiches
Pistachio espresso cookie sandwiches
Someone commented on this recipe telling me I must have had sophisticated palate as a child… if only! But if you feel that description applies to you, whether you are old or young, these ice cream sandwiches are for you. They’re much simpler to make than they look!

Raw chocolate mousse
raw chocolate mousse -best summer recipes
This recipe is amongst my most popular, and it’s easy to know why: it can be made with only 4 ingredients, it’s raw, healthy, and mind-blowingly moreish. Every non-vegan I’ve ever served it to asked for more.

Raw banana ice cream pops – endless flavour combinations
banana ice cream pops - best summer recipes
Have you got bananas? Cacao and cacao butter? Various topping choices? Then you can make banana ice cream pops. And you should. Go make them. Now. (If you haven’t got ice cream sticks, just use chopsticks.)

Coconut & mango froyo sandwiches
If ice cream sandwiches aren’t your thing, have you ever tried a froyo sandwich? I like having these in the freezer for a sweet treat when I get a craving, I just let them thaw for 20-30 minutes before biting into them.

Gluten-free strawberry rhubarb crumble
strawberry rhubarb crumble - best summer desserts
Make the most of strawberry season before it’s over! Nothing screams ‘summer’ like strawberries and rhubarb crumble. You can easily make this gluten-free by using gluten-free oats, or pulsed nuts and seeds.

Raw vanilla rooibos tartlets
raw vanilla rooibos tartlets - best summer desserts
If it’s too hot to turn the oven on, turn to your Vitamix or food processor and make some raw desserts. Rooibos is my favourite tea of all time, and gives this dessert a delicate perfume.

Peanut butter cup ice cream {sugar-free + raw}
PB cups ice cream - best summer dessrets
I’ve saved the best for last: super decadent, chunky, indulgent, dreaaaamy peanut butter cup ice cream. Only 6 ingredients, no added sugars. It’s basically one of your five-a-day.

What’s your all-time favourite summer dessert? Share your tips and recipes in the comments below! :)

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Love and cookies,


Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream { vegan + sugar-free + option to make raw}

Peanut Butter Cups Ice Cream #sugarfree title
I have had a fantastic week. My friend Vanessa found out hardly two months ago that she needed to move to Glasgow, where she will be attending Glasgow University this autumn. She’d never been to Scotland before – never even been North before – and didn’t know anyone but me here. Moving to the other end of the country is daunting enough, but having to do in less than two months is an ordeal.
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A month ago she was viewing flats, this week she actually moved in. Yesterday was what my mother would call ‘une épopée – an epic adventure. Cramming Nessie’s every possession into our backpacks, one small and two giant suitcases, we took a bus, then a train, then a taxi and finally made it to her flat. Her quaint, chic, grown-up flat in the West End. Creaky wooden floorboards, high ceilings, cheerful yellow bedding – for someone who hates moving, I felt quite excited by the possibilities that moving offers. A fresh start, the feeling of adventure and expansion. It’s how I felt when I crammed with the cat into my mum’s overloaded car and followed the motorway signs to ‘THE NORTH.’
peaut butter cup ice cream #sugarfree #vegan #raw 1 peanut butter cup icecream #vegan #raw #sugarfree 3
But before she moved into to her new flat Nessie called my home hers for a week while she was ‘in limbo’. My neighbour jokes that my flat is becoming a halfway house for stray students waiting for their flats! I’ve had two different temporary flatmates over the past couple of months, and it’s been great to live with my girlfriends. Nessie’s diet and mine are polar opposites: she eats Kraft mac ‘n cheese any time of day while I make my salads and green smoothies, which is hilarious, and we still get along great. We spent a week watching countless Disney films, stealing some rare Scottish sunshine, talking about boys and eating ice cream. While she dug into a pint tub of Häagen-Dazs, I devoured peanut butter cup ice cream for lunch.
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Thanks for a great week, my loch Ness monster. Welcome to Scotland, and see you soon!

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream: sugar-free, with option to make raw

  • Servings: serves about 3 people, 2 scoops each
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Note: Make the peanut butter cups first because they will need to set in the freezer. While they’re setting you can make the ice cream. BUT remember you need to freeze the bananas overnight for the ice cream, so a little advance preparation is necessary. 

For the peanut butter cups:

125ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
about 2 heaped tbsp natural, smooth peanut butter (preferably palm oil-free; use raw to make raw PB cups)
1 tsp stevia

Melt the coconut oil in a small bowl suspended over a pot of boiling water (the bottom of the bowl must not touch the water).

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cacao and stevia until no lumps remain. Set aside for a few minutes to cool.

Coat the bottom and sides of 5 silicone cupcake moulds. Freeze for about 5-10 minutes until set.

Pour about a teaspoon of peanut butter into the cupcake moulds. This is the peanut butter centre of your peanut butter cups. Freeze for another 5-10 minutes until set.

Finish the peanut butter cups by covering the peanut butter centre with the remainder of the raw cacao sauce. Freeze again, until needed this time. (And lick the bowl if there’s any chocolate left.)

For the peanut butter ice cream:

4 very ripe bananas
250ml (1 cup) coconut milk
3 tbsp natural, smooth peanut butter (preferably palm oil-free; use raw to make raw ice cream)

Peel the bananas and chop them into small slices. Place in a freezer bag and freeze overnight.

Blend the coconut milk and frozen banana slices (a little at a time) in a food processor. After about 3-5 minutes the bananas and coconut milk ought to look creamy, like soft serve ice cream.

Pour the ice cream into an ice cream container. Swirl the peanut butter through it. Break the frozen peanut butter cups into small pieces and scatter them across the ice cream, incorporating them with a spoon.

Freeze for an hour before serving, or until needed. If you are leaving the ice cream until later, you will need to defrost it for half an hour; using an ice cream scoop dipped in hot water also helps to form nice round scoops.

When was the last time you felt that soaring feeling of new possibilities? 

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Love and cookies,

Review: Petit Vour beauty box

Petit Vour title review
This blog is 99% about vegan baking and desserts, and I know that’s why you’re all here. But did you know that once upon a time I wanted to be a make-up artist? I used to wear really wacky looks to school in my teens but lost interest when I started attending university. When I transitioned to a plant-based diet make-up became even more foreign to me because I didn’t know which make-up brands used animal-based products (answer: lots) and which ones tested on animals (answer: fewer now than some years ago, and new laws are protecting animals from testing). The research was too daunting, so I stayed lost for years.

So when Petit Vour offered me a beauty box to review, I couldn’t say no. These beauty boxes (The Vegan Kind is coming up with one as well) are a godsend for plant-based people: no need to research a brand before you purchase their products, the items in your box are certified plant-based and cruelty-free. Amazing!

My first Petit Vour box, the Bon Voyage! summer edition, was packed with loads of goodies:
Petit Vour shampoo conditioner petit vour cleanser petit vour serum
Petit Vour collage 2 nails
The verdict:

The NCLA JetSetter Collection nail polish is what I was most excited about, especially since I really like wearing baby blue nail polish lately. Just a couple of coats plus a clear top coat looks fantastic and I’ve found the polish lasts around 5 days before it starts looking really chipped. (Note: I am not at all careful with my nail polish and tend to engage in lots of activities that chip nail polish, i.e. swimming, doing the dishes without rubber gloves on, tearing open packages with my nails, …)

EvolvH UltraShine Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner: I only needed one squeeze of the shampoo to completely soap in my entire hair – and my hair is really long and thick! For the conditioner I did need a bit more, but then again I dye my hair and it does get quite dry, so I always require a lot of conditioner. I loved the delicate perfume that clung to my hair afterwards; I smelled like an orchard in bloom. Score!

Mun No. 1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum: I wasn’t a big fan of this. It felt oily on my skin as I applied it, but I have to admit the next morning my skin did feel moisturised, not tight at all. Still, I don’t think I would buy the product.

But the Tay Rosehip Balance Cleanser, on the other hand – only a small bit, just a drop on my finger, was enough to cleanse my skin after wearing a full face of makeup for the whole day. It didn’t dry out my skin as I had feared, which is ideal.
Petit Vour Collage
What’s great about these beauty boxes is that contrary to what I thought there is a multitude of vegan cosmetics brands out there! And as the demand for them grows – through beauty boxes, for example – I can only image that soon hughstreet shops will start stocking more of them, too.

Petit Vour – ‘the crème de la cruelty-free’ – is an American company but boxes ship internationally.  A monthly subscription for USA boxes is $15, Canadian boxes $23 and international boxes $30; free shipping for the US, $15 internationally. International orders may take up to 14 days to ship. If you like what you get in your boxes head over to the Petit Vour Store where you can find anything from lipstick to makeup brushes and perfume.

What’s your favourite vegan brand of cosmetics? Leave me your tips in the comments below! :)

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Love and cookies,

Vanilla Rhubarb Crumble Granola

vanilla rhubarb crumble granola title
If time were a horse galloping in the prairie I would lasso it cowboy-style and bring it to a halt. It seems I’m 3 days behind all the time; when I think it’s Monday, it turns out it’s already Thursday, the weekend is nearly upon me and I haven’t finished half the tasks I was meant to. This means weekends do not exist anymore – but let’s be honest, when you’re a student, you rarely have weekends, anyway. The past four years have been a blur.
vanilla rhubarb crumble granola 2
vanilla rhubarb crumble 1
It’s rhubarb season. For another moment, at least, and then it’ll be gone. I’ve pretty much missed strawberry season already, but I’ll be damned if I miss blueberry season! *Grits her teeth and glares at Time.* I already posted a gluten-free strawberry rhubarb crumble last summer so this year I wanted to give you something a little similar, but a little different; a little indulgent, and very much weekend-food: Vanilla Rhubarb Crumble Granola. It’s like having rhubarb crumble for breakfast, or granola for dessert… whichever, does it matter? Just dig in.
collage vanilla rhubarb crumble granola
(It’s a short post, I realise. I’m busy tackling writing this Dissertation, which is taking up 90% of my brain capacity. Apologies. I hate being busy. I’m not one of those people who relish in the Western culture of busyness, I swear.)
vanilla rhubarb crumble granola 3

Vanilla Rhubarb Crumble Granola

  • Servings: 2-3 servings, depending how much you like sharing or how large your appetite is in the morning
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Note: It’s best to eat this fresh, but if you’re cooking just for yourself, it will keep a second day as long as you store it in the fridge. It’s not bad cold but I prefer it hot. 

Granola ingredients:

100g (1 cup) oats (not instant)
20g (1/3 cup) chopped almonds
40g (1/3 cup) pumpkin seeds
40g (1/3 cup) sunflower seeds
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Rhubarb crumble ingredients:

1 stick of rhubarb, chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup

To serve:

vanilla soy yogurt

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF). Grease a small roasting tin.

Mix all the granola ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Cook the rhubarb and maple syrup in a wee saucepan for about ten minutes, or until the rhubarb has softened. Mix into the granola ingredients.

Spread it all n the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes.

Cool slightly before serving with fresh, cold vanilla soy yogurt.

I haven’t got much to say, so tell me how you’re making the most of the summer fruits season?

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Love and cookies


Churros with Coconut Sugar and & Chilli Chocolate Sauce

#vegan churros #chocolate 1
I once went to Barcelona with my family for a Christmas holiday. We never went on holiday over Christmas but just once the parents decided to try something new. In the spirit of true moody-teenagerhood, my only memories of this trip are that a) it was far too hot for the holiday season (tip: if you’re sweating, it’s too hot for Christmas) and b) paella. Paella paella paella. Everywhere I turned. I did. not. want. to eat freakin’ paella.

So mostly I ate pasta and ice cream.
#vegan churros #chocolate 2
#vegan churros #chocolate 5
But then a few years laters I was working as a lowly waitress at a New Year’s Eve party and they were serving churros with chocolate sauce. I was curious – and hungry; I hated working late because it messed up my eating patterns – so while I was clearing away plates, I snuck off and hid behind a curtain (yes, I really did) and tried one that was left over on a plate (I grew up on a farm – I have no scruples when it comes to eating off other people’s plates).

And in that moment I knew that I had left Barcelona without trying the one thing I should have: churros + chocolate.
#vegan churros #chocolate 4
But, without meaning to sound completely full of myself, I think this version beats traditional churros. I make no claims that this recipe is healthy – because a) vegan food does not necessarily equal healthy and b) coconut sugar is still sugar – I only claim that you should really try it before you die. Really.
#vegan churros #chocolate 3

Churros with Chilli Chocolate Sauce

  • Servings: serves about 6 people, makes LOTS of churros
  • Print

Adapted from the recipe in Jamie Magazine issue 49.

Notes: I used wholewheat flour, not because I was trying to make a typically unhealthy recipe ‘healthy’, but because that is what I had at my disposal. I found it gives the recipe a richer flavour and goes well with the butterscotch flavour of the coconut sugar, so I recommend you try it for yourself.

For the churros:

250g (1 + 2/3 cups) wholewheat flour
60g (1/3 cup) brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
25g (scant 1/4 cup) vegan butter
100ml (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) dairy-free milk
300ml (1 + 1/4 cup) hot water
Vegetable oil for frying
80g (heaped 1/3 cup) coconut sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A small cube of bread to test the oil temperature

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl.

Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the milk, butter and water to it. Let the butter melt into the water and milk; as soon as the liquid starts bubbling up remove the pan from the heat and pour into the bowl of dry ingredients.

Fold the liquid into the dry ingredients; the batter should be even and smooth but also fairly thick.

Pour an inch or so of oil into a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Drop a cube of bread into the oil to test the temperature: if the cube of bread turns golden in 60 seconds, the oil is hot enough. Also prepare a large plate with paper towels and another with the cinnamon and coconut sugar.

Put the churros batter into a piping bag with a large star-shaped nozzle. Squeeze out some batter – about the length of a finger – into the hot oil, cutting it off from the piping bag with a pair of scissors. Do this for about 5 churros at a time. Fry them for about a minute, or until they start browning and looking crisp, then fish them out of the oil with a sieve or slotted spoon. Dry them off on the paper towels and immediately roll them into the coconut sugar.

Repeat this process until the churros batter is all used up.

Make the chocolate sauce (below) and serve immediately with your churros.

For the chilli chocolate sauce:

100g (3.5 oz) chilli chocolate
80ml (1/3 cup) dairy-free milk

Gently heat the milk in a wee saucepan over medium heat. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the pan. When the chocolate starts oozing into the milk, stir with a wooden spoon to combine evenly. Pour the sauce into a serving dish and enjoy warm with your churros.

What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever tasted on holiday?

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Love and cookies,


Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

(First things first: Happy Independence Day to the US! And happy birthday to my friend Vanessa.)

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake title
Remember last Friday’s post? Just before it went live my not-so-vegan, can’t-cook-to-save-his-life Cookie Monster emailed me with an idea. ‘Why don’t we make a cake for our anniversary to put it up on your blog?’ This made a few things very clear to me:

1) He really never plans things in advance, does he?
2) And yet, I never give up hope that someday he will.
3) He clearly hasn’t noticed that during my Masters degree I only blog on Fridays.
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But bless him for trying. I actually thought it was a splendid idea. I keep trying to get him into the kitchen, show him a few simple recipes, but every time I end up doing everything myself. Oh well. To each his own talent(s).
IMG_2214_1  IMG_2215_1
In the end, we settled on making a vegan cheesecake. Baileys cheesecake. When the cake came out rather thin (I could have made it taller but the price of cashews in the UK gives me heart palpitations) he suggested we add a chocolate layer (‘A chocolate ganache layer,’ said I; ‘What the f*** is ganache?!’ quoth he). Then he got this crazy idea to use an apple corer (I’m surprised he knew what that even is) and slice holes in the cheesecake and fill them with chocolate. I might have called him a nutter.
But the Irish are nothing if not determined, so he bought me an apple corer and under duress made me cut holes out of the cheesecake, fill them with ganache, and cover the whole lot in chocolate.

Well I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best thing I ever ate.

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In honour of all the things I might have never tried, known or experienced, I made this cake for my Cookie Monster, who never ceases to push me out of my comfort zone. (And who did not lift a finger to help but instead watched the World Cup. Some things never change – but maybe I don’t want them to.)IMG_2195_1

Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake

  • Servings: serves 8-10
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For the base:

250g (8.8 oz) digestive biscuits (graham crackers)
125ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil, melted
60ml (1/4 cup) rapeseed/canola oil (or more coconut oil; I just ran out)

For the cheesecake filling:

310ml (1 + 1/4 cup) Angela Liddon’s recipe for vegan Irish Cream
400g (14 oz) cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
75g (2.8 oz) vegan white chocolate chips

For the chocolate ganache:

250ml (1 cup) coconut cream
200g (7 oz) dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line and grease a round 20cm (8 inch) springform tin.

2. Pulse the digestive biscuits to a coarse sandy texture in a food processor. Tip into a large bowl and with your hands, mix in the oil to form a sticky dough; this is your base. Press it into the bottom of the lined tin, ensuring it is nice and even.

3. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack while you get on with the rest of the cake.

4. Discard the soaking water of the cashews. Blend the cashews, coconut oil and vegan Iris cream until smooth; this will require a high-speed blender, a tamper and some patience. At most it will take ten minutes. Add in the white chocolate chips, either by stirring them in with a spoon or by letting your blender do it at the lowest speed for just a few seconds.

5.Pour the cheesecake filling onto the cooled cake base (the springform tin should obviously still be around the base at this point). Place in the fridge overnight for best results.

6. In the morning when the cake is set solid, use an apple corer to cut out little cylinders from the cheesecake. (Go on and eat them what else will you do with those little creamy towers?) You will pour the chocolate ganache into and over them.

7. To prepare the ganache: melt the coconut cream in a saucepan over medium heat. When the cream is liquid and just about bubbling, remove the pan from the heat and drop the broken chocolate into the cream; let it ooze and melt, then stir with a wooden spoon till evenly blended. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour into the holes in the cheesecake and over the whole cake.

8. Set in the fridge for another couple of hours before carefully releasing the cake from its springform tin and serving with a few shavings of white chocolate on top. (And obviously drink up the remainder of the Irish cream while devouring a slice of cheesecake.)

How do you push your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone?

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Love and cookies,