Pumpkin Spiced French Toast & VegFest Scotland Recap

Pumpkin Spiced French Toast - The Vegan Cookie Fairy #vegan #breakfast
Pumpkin Spiced French Toast - The Vegan Cookie Fairy #vegan #breakfast
Christmas spirit
I did something very very exciting last weekend: I packed my bags and off I went to Glasgow, to spend all my hard-earned money on vegan cheese and chocolates at VegFest Scotland. 

Actually, I did another very exciting thing: I made this vegan Pumpkin Spiced French Toast for brunch, but more on that later. 
Pumpkin Spiced French Toast - The Vegan Cookie Fairy #vegan #breakfast
We’ve been waiting about a year for VegFest to come to Scotland, and finally the weekend happened. I went up to Glasgow on Sunday 6 (St Nicholas Day! Sampling all the chocolate to honour that tradition, eh), as I sadly couldn’t make it on the Saturday. I came prepared with a wee plan of talks I wanted to attend and stalls I wanted to visit. First up on my list: The Vegan Kind stall. 

You guys know I’m a big fan of this Glasgow-born and based company. Karris has done a fabulous job starting this business from the ground up, with the intention of making vegan brands more accessible to the general public and simultaneously supporting animal charities. I can’t think of a better business model than that. The reason I made their stall my first pit stop is because I knew they were fast selling out of their chocolate-filled Christmas selection box. It was filled (emphasis on was because I’ve nearly eaten the whole thing already) with chocolate bars from Vego, iChoc, Almighty Foods and Sarelle, all quality vegan chocolates that taste like milk chocolate – only £8!
 #VegFestScotland  
 #VegFestScotland
Next I hurried to Patrik Baboumian‘s talk on veganism and weightlifting. Having recently started lifting weights myself, I’m interested in finding out more about the proper plant-based nutrition to help my performance, so I was hoping to get some insights from Germany’s Strongest Man, but mostly I was charmed by his cheerful, endearing personality. He’s just adorable! His story is one of compassion and determination; he went vegan for the animals, and to his surprise found that his new diet was not only helping the world but also his performance. He got me thinking about how plant power can enhance my performance at the gym, and I’m considering buying his book to find out more now. 

The talk ended and I was free to roam and sample. I spent at least twenty minutes by the Almighty Foods stand, sampling the wonderful results of their superfood chocolate alchemy (THAT SPROUTED CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT FUJ, THO)(and the coffee chocolate bar!!) and emptying the contents of my wallet into their till. Tyne Chease was another must-have on my list. I missed these guys at the Edinburgh Vegan Festival in August but this time, I got my wish: a pretty little wheel of 100% organic smokey paprika “cheese”. It’s so moreish, but I have to make it last considering the price! 

I then wandered around, wondering what to spend the meager remains of my budget on. I debated between all the takeaway food stalls but ended up going for an old favourite, Henderson’s of Edinburgh (loyal to the core, what can I say), who served a mean Buddha Box and mince pies. I sipped on my Pink Russian cold-pressed raw drink from Glasgow-based (but hopefully coming soon to Edinburgh!) Juice Warrior, from whom I also bought a tote bag to carry around my purchases. 

I have to say I was disappointed by one thing: there was no recycling bin to throw away my cardboard food box in once I was done with my lunch. Bit of a bummer, SECC.
 #VegFestScotland
IMG_6802
I concluded the afternoon with Fat Gay Vegan’s talk for bloggers. I can’t say that I learned anything new there (I have been blogging for five years now) but I’d never met him in person, and just kind of wanted to bask in his positive presence. He’s a funny guy, and has some strong opinions that he stands by in a civil, sort of typically British way. Can’t help but like him for that. 

There was so much more to see and do and buy, but I just didn’t have the time. I’m surprised I didn’t get whiplashing from turning my head left and right all day, trying to decide which stall to visit next. From clothing to artisan chocolates to handmade cleaning products to kitchen utensil demos to freshly made food – there was just. so. much.
 #VegFestScotland
I’m really excited about next year – hopefully it’ll be even bigger and better! It was definitely worth a trip to Glasgow to see my favourite vegan brands and discover new ones. I was there mostly for the food (I’m not even going to pretend otherwise) but there were also lots of talks and workshops, and extensive list of which you’ll find on the website. It’s best to show up with an idea of what you want to see so you don’t get overwhelmed. Or just turn up and go with the flow. Whatever floats your eco-friendly bamboo-made boat, I guess. 

My final recommendation: though you’ll eat plenty at VegFest, make sure you get in a hearty breakfast like this vegan Pumpkin Spiced French Toast
Pumpkin Spiced French Toast - The Vegan Cookie Fairy #vegan #breakfast

[yumprint-recipe id=’44’] 

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

Crispy Vegan Waffles + WIN a Sage Appliances No Mess Waffle Maker!

#Vegan Crispy Waffles w No Mess Waffle Maker
#Vegan Crispy Waffles w No Mess Waffle Maker
There’s one thing I miss, living alone.

Brunch.

I don’t have anyone to cook for except myself, and though I make an effort to cook myself a lavish breakfast at the weekend, it’d be nice to share to make a bigger batch of pancakes once in a while, to carry a big stack to the table and bring out all the toppings available in my cupboards. So when my mum came round a couple of weeks ago to help me do some DIY in the flat, I saw the perfect opportunity to make use of my No-Mess Waffle™ from Sage Appliances.
#Vegan Crispy Waffles w No Mess Waffle Maker
#Vegan Crispy Waffles w No Mess Waffle Maker
Guys, I can’t tell you how much I have missed waffles. I had a waffle maker for a while – I won’t name the brand but it was a truly awful contraption. I always had to use oodles of coconut oil to grease it, and still the waffles stuck. After using just a few times, the timer’s light stopped functioning properly, so I never knew when the waffle iron was actually hot enough. Last time I used it – well over a year ago now – the machine overheated and the batter actually glued it shut. I had to toss it into the bin, the batter still stuck in the waffle maker.

So it had been well over a year since I’d last had waffles. And for a Belgian born and raised – gosh, that was hard. I grew up eating the best, the best waffles in the world. Crisp Brussels waffles, so light and airy, topped with mountains of whipped cream and dusted with snowy powdered sugar. Heaven. We’d get some of those at the fun fair, at a place called Chez Max. I always preferred those to the heavier, sickly sweet Liège waffles with their caramelised edges and balls of sugar inside — although there is a time for those, too.
#Vegan Crispy Waffles w No Mess Waffle Maker
Brunch has been reborn. The lovely people at Sage Appliances offered to solve my waffle conundrum, and though I was highly skeptical — I mean, I’ve had a lot of bad waffle maker experiences, not just that one machine I once had — I have to say I’m now a complete convert.

The No Mess Waffle by Sage Appliances, Heston Blumenthal‘s brainchild. The name alone made me question whether this machine would actually do the trick, but given the battles I’ve fought at breakfast to try and make my waffle dreams come true, I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. As it turns out, I had everything to gain: the first batch I tried came out perfect in just five minutes, the edges crisp and the inside baked to perfection. Hallelujah!

It does what it says on the tin, really: any excess batter that overflows is caught in the moat around the waffle iron itself, so you don’t have any spillage on the countertop and the machine stays clean. I’ve found that it takes very little greasing, if any at all, and that the waffles don’t stick to the iron at all. And if you prefer a softer, fluffier waffle to a crisp, golden one like these in the recipe below, you can easily adjust the settings (they range from 1 to 7, or MAX).

The No Mess Waffle is really easy to use, but I get ya, I’m a lazy bones too, so here’s a handy video showing you how to use it. (Who reads instruction manuals anymore these days?) The machine lights up to tell you when it’s pre-heated, and there’s another light telling you when the waffles are cooked (plus it beeps, so even if you’re a distracted cook, like me, you’ll know when it’s ready. Just in case you went into the other room to catch up on the Great British Bake Off and forgot you were cooking.)

I’ve used my No Mess Waffle plenty of times now and the results are just fantastic every single time. It makes me look forward to the weekend, dreaming up all sorts of toppings for my breakfast of champions.

After our hearty breakfast, Mum and I went off exploring Tantallon Castle in East Lothian. The sun was out, the air was crisp, the wind fresh on our skin. The air tasted like salt and the sea was a shade bluer than the sky itself. I wish every weekend could be like this…

Have I got you hungry for your next weekend brunch? Enter the competition below for your chance to win a brand new No Mess Waffle™ from Sage Appliances!
Tantallon North Berwick
#Vegan Crispy Waffles w No Mess Waffle Maker
Tantallon and Bass Rock North Berwick

Crispy Vegan Waffles (in 15 Minutes)

  • Servings: serves two
  • Print

Ingredients
  1. 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour (or plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder)
  2. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 50g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  4. 200ml (just over 3/4 cup) soya milk
  5. 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  6. 2 tsps vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Put a little coconut oil onto a sheet of kitchen roll and grease your No Mess Waffle™. Switch on your No Mess Waffle™ on setting 5 to pre-heat. The light will turn green when it is ready to use.
  2. In a cup, add the soya milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside to curdle.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a fork.
  4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the curdled soya milk, as well as the vanilla extract. Fold in the wet ingredients, mixing until no lumps remain.
  5. Pour half of the batter into the No Mess Waffle Maker and close the lid. A light will turn on and you will hear a beeping sound when the first waffle is ready, approximately five minutes later. Place the waffle onto a plate, and repeat with the rest of the batter (I find there’s no need to grease the iron again).
  6. When you’re done, switch off your machine and let it cool before you give a wipe with a wet cloth.

[gleam url=”https://gleam.io/qlE1c/win-a-no-mess-waffle-from-sage-appliances”%5DWIN a No Mess Waffle from Sage Appliances[/gleam]

What’s your favourite waffle topping? Let me know in the comments below so I know what to try next time!

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Sage Appliances and the No-Mess Waffle™. As always, all opinions are my own, and I think the No-Mess Waffle™ is genius.

Treacle, Edinburgh – Vegan In Scotland

vegan in Scotland TVCF banner

In this blog series I review vegan/vegetarian restaurants, cafés and shops in Scotland. Since I’ve moved here there have been more and more veggie options on offer in mainstream restaurants and special diets and vegetarian places are opening up all the time. To help you navigate the veggie dining-out scene in this breath-taking country, I’m making it my mission to suss out vegan/vegetarian places to eat all over Scotland — if it takes me all the way out to the Hebrides! (The things I do for you guys…)


Treacle Edinburgh
Treacle on Broughton Street Edinburgh
I’m back with another fantastic veggie review for Vegan In Scotland — this time, I’m taking you to the cosy and chic Treacle in Edinburgh.

If it wasn’t apparent from my emotional monologues in previous blog posts, I adore this city, and I’ve been keen since I moved here to find out all the best veggie spots to eat and shop at. I very nearly moved to a quaint flat in Broughton last year but settled for the West End after all — if I hadn’t, I would have been right next to Treacle and undoubtedly would have made it my local weekend hangout, because this place is wicked.

Treacle has recently been given a veg-friendly menu makeover so you can now find plenty of vegetarian, vegan and also gluten-free options on their menu. I spotted about half a dozen vegan options alone (sadly not in the dessert section, which is, you guessed it, always the first part of the menu I read) but the friendly staff are more than happy to accommodate any allergies or dietary requirements you might have.

Treacle Cocktails in Edinburgh
I arrived with a friend on Saturday night after having enjoyed a performance at the Fringe Festival, and naturally we wanted cocktails. That tall hot drink was my Eastern High Tea (because GIN) and my friend was served this cute little tin of Blue Collar Julep (not vegan – it contains honey). We sipped as we perused the menu.

Sesame roasted cauliflower soy mam cham - Treacle Edinburgh
Black bean and sweet potato fritters - Treacle Edinburgh
We took in our surroundings while we waited for our starters. Having never been inside before — but passed the bar plenty of times — I was pleasantly surprised. If you could take your living room and turn it into a bar for you and your friends, that’s what Treacle would be: cool but relaxed, with a crowd of mixed ages, Treacle is furnished with cosy sofas by the windows where you can catch up with your friends (and your dogs!) over a cocktails, tables in the left corner for those who want a more private conversation over dinner, and a couple of TV screens that showed re-runs of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. There’s a definite hipster vibe, but you know what — the place is too warm and inviting for anyone to mind. You feel right at home at Treacle.

Plus the food is banging.

Heavily inspired by Vietnamese flavours, the menu features starters such as Sesame Roasted Cauliflower with Sweet Chilly Soy Mam Chay, and the best Bean and Quinoa Fritters I’ve ever tasted in my life. I’ve tasted some pretty bland vegan starters in my life (including a plate of raw cucumber and tomato that was presented to me as a meal) but these two dishes were flavoursome, wholesome and nourishing.

Roast Cauliflower Bahn Mi - Treacle Edinburgh
Sweet potato spinach goats cheese pie - Treacle Edinburgh
We could hardly wait for the mains to arrive. Asian flavours might influence the menu but this is still Scotland, so you can find a range of pies on the menu, served with chunky chips and salad on the side. My friend had the vegetarian Sweet Potato, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pie — a little heavy perhaps for the glorious summer weather that day, but deemed delicious by her anyway — while I chose a vegan Bahn Mi, a type of Vietnamese sandwich that I’d heard about before but never tried yet.

When that monster of a sandwich arrived, I could hardly believe the size of it. It was monster sized! There was nothing else for it: I wiped off my lipstick and tackled that beast, mouthful by mouthful.

I never would have thought of filling a sandwich with roasted cauliflower, but it worked surprisingly well; the best part of the sandwich was the layer of thinly sliced vegetables marinated in sweet chilli dressing at the bottom, flavouring the crunchy bread around it. Neither of us managed to finish our huge meals — as my friend put it, she was full up to her eyeballs.
Veggie sweet potato spinach goats cheese pie - Treacle Edinburgh
Roast Cauliflower Bahn Mi Red Chilli Glaze- Treacle Edinburgh
Waved goodbye by the staff, we left the restaurant at sunset, feeling full and nourished both in our bellies and in our souls. I can’t wait to go back to Treacle, maybe for breakfast or lunch. It’s the type of place that lends itself to lots of occasions — brunch with your besties on a summer’s day, laid-back lunch with mum and dad or cocktails and nibbles with your friends after a show. Another gem in the heart of Edinburgh.


Treacle
39-41 Broughton Street, EH1 3JU Edinburgh
0131 557 0627 • info@treacleedinburgh.co.uk


I take every opportunity that comes my way to brag about Edinburgh. I took a few detours on the way home and snapped these shots of my gorgeous, gorgeous city.

Edinburgh

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

 

Disclaimer: I was invited to try out Treacle’s new menu and the meals were complimentary, but as always all opinions are my own, and I think Treacle’s fantastic. 

Vegan Evening @ Bread Street Brasserie – Vegan In Scotland

vegan in Scotland TVCF banner
In this blog series I review vegan/vegetarian restaurants, cafés and shops in Scotland. Since I’ve moved here there have been more and more veggie options on offer in mainstream restaurants and special diets and vegetarian places are opening up all the time. To help you navigate the veggie dining-out scene in this breath-taking country, I’m making it my mission suss out vegan/vegetarian places to eat all over Scotland — if it takes me all the way out to the Hebrides! (The things I do for you guys…)


Vegan Raw Chocolate Cake @ BSB #veganinscotland
I think by now you’ll all have noticed I have a habit of taking ages to get round to doing things. Just like the last Vegan In Scotland review – The Chocolate Tree, my new favourite place on Earth – I was aware of Bread Street Brasserie‘s vegan evenings for months before I actually booked a table there to see what the fuss was about. It’s thanks to your suggestions on Twitter that I discovered this place, btw, so feel free to always message me any vegetarian/vegan (friendly) place you’d like me to check out!

I took an open-minded omnivore friend of mine to dinner at Bread Street Brasserie, all the better to get a well-rounded opinion for my review. BSB doesn’t usually do vegan food, only for this monthly event, and I think it’s important in a non-vegan world that we are able to cater enjoyable plant-based meals to both vegans and omnivores alike – to me, that’s a pretty decent scenario.

It felt quite luxurious to be sitting down on a Thursday night in BSB’s glamorous 50s-60s decorated restaurant. A waiter promptly introduced herself to us and helped us identify the vegan wines (!) on the menu. There was brown bread to nibble on, too – a European touch I very much appreciated.
Nettle Soup @ BSB #veganinscotland
For each vegan evening they host, BSB creates a three course menu with three different choices for each course. It’s been chilly in Edinburgh, and neither my table companion nor I felt like having anything other than the nettle soup for starters – we direly needed something to warm us up. The soup arrived just moments later, and it sure warmed us up – plenty of pepper will do that for you. We dropped a small dollop of margarine into our bowls to soften the sharpness of the soup, after which it was perfectly fine.

Continuing with our comfort food theme, we then ordered a leek and mushroom pie for my friend and for me steamed ‘cheesy’ cauliflower on a bed of radish and samphire. Again the food was served without delay and our friendly waitress was always around to top up drinks and check on us. My friend was rather surprised at her ‘pie’ – apparently a euphemism for stroganoff and mashed potato – but enjoyed it nonetheless; my cauliflower and samphire dish could not have been more perfect. The chef did a brilliant job with these seasonal ingredients, and turned them into a deeply satisfying meal.
Vegan Mushroom Pie @ BSB #veganinscotland
Vegan Cheesey Cauliflower & Sampphire @ BSB #veganinscotland
We have a massive sweet tooth, my friend and I, so expectations were high for dessert. The quinoa and banana pudding piqued her interest, while I, predictably, went for the chocolate lava cake. Sadly the pudding turned out to be a small mound of butterscotch mashed banana and quinoa – which tastes as unappetizing as it sounds – and my lava cake was a raw concoction with delicious chocolate cream inside – but not a lava cake, really. But it was as rich and moreish as I could have hoped for, and if I hadn’t been so full already, I would have eaten ever last crumb.
Raw Chocolate Cake @ BSB #veganinscotland
Vegan Quinoa Banana Pudding @ BSB #veganinscotland
In conclusion, a bit hit and miss. Not bad at all, especially for a restaurant that does not usually serve only plant-based meals, and for such an upmarket place the bill came to a reasonable £22 for each of us, wine included. (The set menu for the night was £17.5, drinks not included). We left feeling full and nourished, and happy for having tried something new. It certainly did not put off my friend, which is always a plus when introducing vegan food to an omnivore! In hindsight, I also realised my entire meal was gluten-free, save for the bread.


 

Bread Street Brasserie
34 Bread Street,
EH3 9AF Edinburgh
0131 221 5558

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by Bread Street Brasserie and none of the food was complimentary. All opinions are my own and that of my table companion. 

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

The Chocolate Tree – Vegan In Scotland

vegan in Scotland TVCF banner
In this blog series I review vegan/vegetarian restaurants, cafés and shops in Scotland. Ever since I moved here, I noticed it is noticeably harder to eat out and stick to a plant-based diet in Scotland than it was when I lived in London. After several months of frustration, I am making it my mission to suss out vegan/vegetarian places to eat all over Scotland — if it takes me all the way out to the Hebrides! (The things I do for you guys…)


The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland
The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland

I’ve been very excited about this review for a while. I moved to Edinburgh four months ago now, and I was eager to find my essential foodie spots: the farmers’ markets, my preferred supermarket, my local pub and café, and the like. It was at the Edinburgh farmers’ market, on a cold Saturday in January, that I stumbled upon a stall of chocolate bars. The stall holder handed me a free – FREE – cup of hot melted chocolate. Just water and chocolate, melted together. It coursed through me like a magic potion, thawing my chilled body. And man, it tasted good.

That stall belonged to The Chocolate Tree.

Most weeks I visit the farmers’ market. I make sure to buy my fruit and veg first, and what money I have left goes on chocolate. I knew the company owned a shop in Edinburgh as well – not far from where I live in the West End, actually – but I knew the temptation would no doubt bankrupt me and expand my waist size exponentially.

And yet, I had to know… so I finally went!

Let me walk you through the wonderful shop that is The Chocolate Tree, in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh.

The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland

It’s a little like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory meets the witch’s wood carving shop in Brave: all dark and moody wood furniture, electric wallpaper and classic mural paintings. The business started as a solar-powered chocolaterie touring festivals across the UK, and TCT is still committed to recycling and being kind to the environment: they use biodegradable cellophane for their packaging and reusable FSC certified paper to print their labels on.

I’ve quickly fallen in love with this brand and this company because a) their chocolate is orgasmic, and they’re not afraid to play with flavours (but more on that later) and b) their staff are so dedicated to giving you the best experience enjoying their chocolate. They are always chatty at the market stall, telling me all about their chocolate-making process and telling me about their vegan options, and giving me free hot chocolate to taste.

My favourite flavours so far are peppermint, cardamom, salted caramel and haggis (!!). I was really into winter spice over the cold months, and probably would still enjoy it now if I wasn’t so enamoured with cardamom. It’s important to mention that their chocolate is made bean-to-bar, which means it’s all made right here in Edinburgh from raw cacao beans to achieve the best result possible.
The Chocolate Tree chocolates
The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland
I had the most delicious vegan chocolate Easter egg, made with creamy coconut milk, and I wish I had bought more (but my bank account thanks me for exercising some restraint) because IT WAS THAT GOOD, but they also had plenty of dark chocolate bunnies (and they might still have some if you hurry and snap ’em up!).
The Chocolate Tree - Blog Review #veganinscotland
You can’t visit the shop and not try the Giandutto truffles. You know how much I love that hazelnut-chocolate combination – just see my Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe for proof – and these truffles did not disappoint. All their truffles are labelled with vegan and dairy-free when they are so.

They also sell sorbets (all vegan) and ice creams (not vegan) in their shop, plus a vegan chocolate spread that I have yet to try but have my eye on. And if you need an impressive cake for a party, you’re in luck: The Chocolate Tree also makes whole cakes!

In short, The Chocolate Tree is the perfect place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon sipping on hot chocolate at one of their  tables by the window. And don’t forget to take a few of their chocolate bars home with you – one isn’t enough!

**************

The Chocolate Tree
123 Bruntsfield Place
Edinburgh EH10 4EQ
0131 228 3144
www.choctree.co.uk

+ they’ve got a shop in Haddington, too!

11 Hardgate
East Lothian
Haddington
EH41 3JW

**************

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

Book Review: “Veganish: The Omnivore’s Guide To Plant-Based Cooking” by Mielle Chénier-Cowan Rose

viking muesli

One of my favourite films of all time is Julie & Julia, the story of how Julie Powell was inspired by Julia Child to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and transform her life. Right after I saw the film, I fell in love with cooking too, and purchased my own copies of Mastering The Art. I spent the summer after graduating high school learning to make a roux, béchamel sauce from scratch, and many, many cakes.

But only six months later, in the middle of my first year at university in London, I decided to adopt a plant-based diet. It was back to the drawing board for me, and my copies of Mastering the Art of French Cooking have remained untouched on my cookbook shelf since then. I taught myself plant-based booking through a mix of intuition and recipes found online.

Then I was approached by Viva Editions about Veganish: The Omnivore’s Guide To Plant-Based Cooking. I was hesitant at first: I blog mostly about vegan dessert recipes, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure that this book was ground-breaking in any sense. But you know what? It’s pleasantly surprising to be proven wrong sometimes.

white bean and kale soup veganish

My meals lately had been so boring, and after long days at work I often rely on ready-made soups and curries. Being vegan, they’re not so unhealthy, but still not nearly as healthy as homemade food. So I made a commitment to cook from Veganish for a week, and I have never eaten so well! I shared the White Bean and Kale Soup with an omnivore friend of mine, who said it was probably the healthiest thing she’d ever eaten.

chocolate ganache

There is a recipe for chocolate ganache in Veganish which I adapted to make these little peanut butter chocolate ganache cups. This stuff is so irresistible it should be illegal. Seriously. I should have doubled the recipe. I also had to make the recipe for Viking muesli — a seriously plant-powered breakfast! I made it warm since the days are so cold now in Scotland, but this would make a light summery breakfast if chilled.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you will have seen me posting about the Roasted Root Medley — a new staple recipe in my diet! I have been pairing it with kale salad marinated in the ‘Honey’ Mustard Vinaigrette, my new favourite salad dressing. I’ve never been good at making salad dressings, but Mielle’s recipes have changed that.

roasted-roots-medley-and-honey-mustard-vinaigrette

You’ll notice the title says ‘plant-based’, not ‘vegan’. Mielle Chenier-Cowan Rose has been a vegan chef and advocate for natural living for over 15 years, she studied healing foods and culinary nutrition at Bauman College and has worked with some of the most prominent vegetarian restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the raw food restaurant phenomenon Cafe Gratitude. But her family has suffered from health issues that left her with no option but to reintroduce animal-based products into their diets.

What I like about Mielle’s book is that it encourages an attitude of compassion and flexibility, while emphasising the benefits of a plant-based diet. ‘You will be fine,’ she says, ‘if you relax, follow your intuition, and pay attention to recommendations that resonate with you, and eat a wide variety of seasonal whole foods with joy and gratitude.’ Veganish contains recommendations like ‘buy ingredients that you recognise from nature and cook your meals from scratch as often as possible’; ‘make an effort to avoid unnaturally altered, refined ingredients’; ‘be moderate, balanced, and flexible.’ For someone who has suffered from a disordered relationship with food, this book is heaven-sent. Reading this book, I never once felt pressured, belittled or misunderstood.

viking muesli

The one downside? No pictures. Ach, for a cookbook collector such as myself, that was a shock at first — but as Mielle says, she doesn’t want this to be a recipe book, she wants it to be a cookbook. One that you can use as a staple, a guide to learn the basics from and use to build up your confidence as a plant-based cook. So, pictures really aren’t all that important.

On the other hand, Veganish includes concise but highly informative chapters on plant-based nutrition, salt, cooking oils, cooking methods and special techniques. These 217 pages are jam-packed with comprehensible information and delicious recipes. I consider Veganish to be the modern equivalent of Julia Child’s booksand a very important book for our time. 

Veganish is published by Viva Editions and is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

roasted root medley

All in all, I definitely recommend this book. It’s the perfect gift to someone who is just embarking on a plant-based cooking, or wants to learn to cook in a balanced, intuitive and wholesome way. The recipes are simple, the information makes sense, and the food is scrumptious.   

Have you read Veganish, and cooked any recipes from it? What’s your definition of a balanced plant-based diet?

Disclaimer: Viva Editions sent me a copy of Veganish for reviewing purposes, but as always, all opinions here are my own, and I mean every word I say. 

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Love and cookies,
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Oat Milk Recipes + Introducing Oatly

A while back I shared an article on my Facebook page: it reports that non-dairy milks (or ‘drinks’, as they’re legally called) are now more popular than ever in the UK. I remember when, over three years ago, after I decided to eat a plant-based diet I went to the long-life milk aisle in Tesco and could only find one type: Alpro Soya Milk. That was it! Pretty soon other brands appeared and prices became more competitive. And now even in Scotland I am spoiled for choice. The latest ‘milk’ on the market is Oatly, a Swedish brand of oat milk, and one that I have quickly grown fond of.

There are heaps of reasons for this: Oatly drinks are GMO free, made in Europe (so kind of more local for me), nut-free and soya-free for any of you allergic people out there, and their marketing is pretty darn cute. (‘Wow, no cow!’) And as they say, ‘It’s like milk, but made for humans.’ That, right there, is why I’m vegan. Cow milk was made for cows, plants were made for animals and people to eat. In the UK they have several flavours available: Original, Organic Original, Chocolate (definitely my favourite) and Chai (haven’t found it in my local Sainsbury’s yet), and of course Organic Creamy Oats.
Wow no cow collage
On a Sunday  morning after a late night shift I made myself a heavenly Chocolate Oat Milk Frappé with Oatly Chocolate Drink and Oatly Cream. I can’t think of a better way to start the day! I’ve also made myself a simple Amaretto hot chocolate with Oatly chocolate drink: just two ingredients heated in a pan make for a delightful nightcap.
OATLY frappe 1

 

Maca Chocolate Frappé with Oatly Oat Drink

  • Servings: makes 1 large serving
  • Print

2 bananas (frozen)
1 cup Oatly chocolate milk
2 ice cubes
1 tsp cashew butter (optional)
a shot of espresso OR 1 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp maca powder
1 tsp cacao powder
a dash of Oatly cream, to serve
cacao and cinnamon, to serve

Place the frozen bananas, chocolate milk, cashew butter, espresso, cacao and maca powders in a high-speed blender and blend till smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend for a few seconds, until the ice is crushed but still lends some texture to the drink.

Pour into a large glass. Add a dash of Oatly Cream, dust with cacao and cinnamon. Enjoy immediately.

Using Oatly Organic I prepared this scrumptious lemon sugar crêpe for breakfast. I found the oat milk has a delicate flavour, with a barely perceptible sweetness (even though no sweeteners are used in the formula).
OATLY crepe
I’ve been using Oatly the Original in my smoothies, porridge and baked goods with great success. It binds ingredients well, has a subtle flavour, and provides a bit of extra fibre too. Oatly Cream is one of my favourite new products; if you happen to be intolerant or allergic to soya and/or don’t like coconut cream because of its distinct flavour, you should try Oatly Cream! The non-distinct flavour means it won’t overpower other ingredients in your recipes and similarly binds well. I’ve made an orgasmic amazing mac ‘n cheese using Oatly Cream.
OATLY mac n cheese
All in all I’m really pleased with Oatly products and will definitely be buying them again in the future. The Oat Cream especially because it doesn’t have that distinctive soy flavour that soya cream or coconut cream have.

Have you ever tried oat milk before? What have you made with it? Leave me your suggestions below, I’d love to share recipe ideas with you!

Disclaimer: I was endorsed for the products reviewed here but as always all opinions are my own. Oat milk rocks. Drink it up. 

Like what you read here? Let’s keep in touch! Sign up for email updates and follow me on InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest and Tumblr! You can also follow my blog through Bloglovin‘.

Love and cookies,
thevegancookiefairysignature-2