Vegan Coffee & Chocolate Macarons

Vegan Coffee Macarons - The Vegan Cookie Fairy
Vegan Coffee Macarons -- The Vegan Cookie Fairy
Vegan Coffee Macarons -- The Vegan Cookie Fairy

I originally wrote and published this post on Friday 16 October but my blog crashed and the whole post was gone. I’d written quite a heartfelt post, and in just one second all those words were gone. I don’t have the heart or patience to rewrite the whole thing, and maybe it’s for the best that some of those words are now gone. At any rate, I was able to copy-paste an extract that was posted in the newsletter.


Perfectionist.

How many times has that word been thrown around when people describe me, or comment on something I’ve done (or rather, not done as well as I would like). You’re a born perfectionist, Clem. Even my star sign says so; virgo, the ultimate perfectionist, nothing’s ever good enough, always has to try harder, do more, be better.

My whole life I felt like that word was ill-suited to me. I never felt like I was doing anything right anyway – I was never the prettiest girl in class, never thin enough, never good enough at maths or sciences, never very techy, my brain is a sieve and I get flustered and shy, I’m not the social butterfly I wish I could be, and on and on and on – in fact I was far from perfect. But I guess even the fact that I don’t feel good enough to deserve the brand of ‘perfectionist’ just goes to show how much of  a true perfectionist I am. Sometimes though, I wish I could rebrand myself a ‘failurist’, which seems much more apt.

I like to think I’ve made small improvements: I don’t get into quite a panic about getting stuff right the first time around. But then if I do mess up something, the mental self-flagellation begins: I can’t stop thinking about what I could have done better, what small detail I overlooked, how lazy, how stupid, damn stupid I can be. I imagine that’s what it’s like to be a postman attacked by a small chihuahua that’s bitten into your leg and refuses to let go until it’s tasted blood. And boy, do I bleed.

My biggest failure to date has been haunting me for six months. I loved a man, and tried so hard for almost three years to make our relationship last, and it didn’t work. I gave it everything I had – and I still lost. I can’t tell you how much that hurts. It’s the hardest lesson I’ve learnt so far: that sometimes, no matter how long or how hard you try, you will lose, because some things are out of your control and that’s ok. Let go.
Vegan Coffee Macarons -- The Vegan Cookie Fairy
Vegan Coffee Macarons -- The Vegan Cookie Fairy

I know these macarons look far from perfect. Macarons require a lot of practice, and i’m still learning. Clearly, i’m overzealous with the filling, but hey, I like my chocolate, ok? I’m just happy these feet, are properly baked, and taste effing fantastic. Taste first, looks second.

Vegan Coffee & Chocolate Macarons

Ingredients:

For the coffee shells:

  • 100g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 50g (1/2 cup) powdered sugar
  • Aquafaba (brine) from a 400g (14 oz) tin of chickpeas
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coffee extract

For the chocolate filling:

  • 260g (1 cup + 1 tbp) vegan butter
  • 200g (7 oz) chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Drain the aquafaba into a bowl and then pour it into a saucepan and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, sift the ground almonds and powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Discard any almond crumbs that are too large to pass through the sieve.
  3. Pour the aquafaba into a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high speed until pale and frothy, but not quite stiff yet. Alternatively, use a handheld electric whisk for this process.
  4. Add the coffee extract and caster sugar and continue whisking until the aquafaba forms glossy, stiff peaks.
  5. Use a spatula to scrape the meringue off the whisk and into the bowl.
  6. Sieve half of the dry mixture into the meringue and mix gently, using downward strokes with the spatula. Sieve the second half of the dry mixture into the meringue and fold until all the dry mixture is incorporated.
  7. Spread the mixture with the spatula against the side of the bowl and then scoop up from underneath and turn over; this counts as one turn. Repeat this process a further 19 times. Be careful not to do this more than 20 times as it can make the macarons greasy. This step is known as the macaronnage.
  8. The macaron batter should be thick but run off the spatula and spread slightly if left in the bowl. Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag and secure the top. Place the piping bag in a tall drinking glass or mug to help support it as you spoon in the mixture. Pipe 2.5cm (1 inch) circles onto baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving room for the macarons to spread slightly. It’s important when piping the macarons to hold the piping bag directly above the baking tray, not at an angle, and to pipe in one smooth motion.
  9. Then take one baking tray at a time and drop it onto the counter or table from a small height and drop it once more. Repeat with the other trays. This helps the macarons have an even shape and aids in developing the “pied” or foot. With a moist finger, gently press down any tips left on the surface of the macarons.
  10. Leave the macarons to dry at room temperature for 2 hours.
  11. Preheat the oven to 100ºC (200ºF). Bake the macarons on the top shelf of the oven, one tray at a time, for 30 minutes. Keep checking on them to make sure they brown too quickly but do NOT open the oven door. This will ruin the macarons. When the 30 minutes are over, switch off the oven and leave inside for 15 minutes, then open the oven door and leave for another 15 minutes before taking out of the oven.
  12. Repeat this process with all of the trays of macarons.
  13. Once your baking tray and macarons are completely cold, you’re ready to sandwich them together with your filling. The macarons should have a nice, crisp shell, a ruffled foot or pied around the bottom and a firm underneath.
  14. For the filling, melt all the ingredients together in a heat-proof bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent any burning. Set aside to cool completely, then pipe onto the bottom of half of the macaron shells. Finally, sandwich the remaining shells on top.

Notes:

Keep in an airtight box for up to 3 days.

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

 

GF Vanilla Madeleines with Chocolate & Pistachio Ganache

Vanilla Madeleines Chocolate and Pistachio Dip #vegan #glutenfree
Oh hey, did you notice those two wee letters in the title of this post? I heard your prayers and have been baking my little butt off to learn to make gluten-free bakes, because I appreciate that everybody wants to eat cake, and allergies shouldn’t prevent you from doing that. I used to dread gluten-free baking, but I think I’m getting better at it – so thank YOU for the motivation.

Click here to enter the treasure trove of gluten-free desserts, and go bake yo little heart out. 
Vanilla Madeleines Chocolate and Pistachio Dip #vegan #glutenfree
Edinburgh Sunset Skyline
Being an adult is a funny thing. I don’t just spend my time baking gluten-free cakes, you know – I seem to spend my time doing lots and lots and lots and lots of things. So many, in fact, that anytime I get to sit down for just five minutes, my body begs me not to get up, and I sometimes end up just staring out the window, watching the sunset dapple the Edinburgh rooftops pink and gold and amber. It’s so pretty where I live. I haven’t enjoyed it as much over the summer as I’d like because, ironically, I spent a lot of time indoors – learning a new craft at my job, which I love, or improving my flat and in so doing, learning DIY. It’s been a year of learning.

Learning to make ends meet on a job that didn’t even pay me a living wage. Learning to say yes to my intuition. Learning to take a deep breath, and plough on, and on, and on, no matter how hard it gets. Learning to say no, this isn’t working anymore, and say goodbye. Learning to fix things by myself. Learning to say, you know what, you don’t get to speak to me like that – fuck off. Learning to be alone, and to be ok with that.

You spend a lot of time doing lots of things you’d rather delegate to someone else when you’re an adult. And I’m lucky, cause I still live on my own so I don’t have to answer to any husband or discipline misbehaving children. (Let’s not pretend like the cat actually listens to me, the cheeky bugger does what he pleases. But hey, he’s low maintenance.) I spend five days a week working in an office, and I find the quick succession of weekdays and weekends makes the year go by in a flash. Is this what the next 42 years have in store for me? The thought makes me feel unsettled sometimes, and not a little anxious that time is slipping by and I have no control over anything at all.

So these days, it’s a rare treat when I take the time to bake something as pretty and delicate as madeleines, and dip them in chocolate ganache and then think, you know what, I’ma dip this in crushed pistachios just because I want to. Looking at how sophisticated they were, I felt quite grown-up indeed.

It’s not all fun and games. But if there are madeleines involved, in my opinion, you’re doing ok.
Vanilla Madeleines Chocolate and Pistachio Dip #vegan #glutenfree
Edinburgh Skyline Sunrise
Vanilla Madeleines Chocolate and Pistachio Ganache #vegan #glutenfree

GF Vegan Vanilla Madeleines

Ingredients:

For the madeleines:

135g (2/3 cup + 1 tbsp) gluten-free plain flour
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp baking powder
60ml (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil
125ml (1/2 cup) soya milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
cornflour, to dust the madeleine tin

To garnish:

75g (3 oz) vegan dark chocolate
4 tbsp soya milk
50g (1/3 cup) chopped pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease a madeleine tin and dust with cornflour.
  2. Combine the milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and set aside to curdle.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients for the madeleines to a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour i the wet ingredients, including the curdled milk. Fold them in gently until no lumps remain.
  4. Drop about a tsp of the batter into each madeleine cavity in the tin. The batter shouldn’t touch the sides, but should mostly fill the cavity. The madeleines will expand as they bake, however, you don’t want them to become larger than the size of the cavity.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate and pistachio garnish: in a small pan over low heat, warm up the soya milk and add the chopped chocolate. Stirring with a spoon, melt the chocolate. When it is glossy and no lumps remain, remove from the heat.
  7. Dip each cooled madeleine into the melted chocolate (I like to do this at an angle to create a diagonal shape) and then into a bowl of chopped pistachios. Place on a plate to set.

Notes:

These are best eaten the same day; madeleines tend to get dry the next day, and gluten-free ones especially. If you want to make them a little moister, use melted vegan margarine instead of coconut oil.

Did you like this post + recipe? Then sign up for email updates and receive my free ebook, 5 Recipes For A Fabulous Weekend!

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!

Did you like this post + recipe? Then sign up for email updates and receive my free ebook, 5 Recipes For A Fabulous Weekend!

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.

Gluten-Free Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream + Win 2 Tickets to VegFest Scotland!

Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream
Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream
I felt it in the air this Monday.

The first autumn chill. 

You know the kind – it sort of tickles your hands but isn’t cold enough to warrant gloves. It came so suddenly this year in Scotland; I think because we had such a horrid summer – basically two months of waiting, and waiting, and waiting for summer to come – so we’ve been taken quite aback by the shorter days, and the drop in temperature. And suddenly it’s September, and we haven’t had a summer at all. But I honestly don’t mind because, as everyone known, autumn is a brilliant season and second only to winter (which is obviously the best because, Christmas).

Instantly, I knew I had to bake something with pumpkin.
Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream

This is what I love about autumn:

The colour orange slowly tainting the landscape, and the leaves all falling off the trees. Hot whiskeys on a cold night. That crisp, fresh breeze that means you can wrap a long, oversized check scarf three times around your head. Spiced lattes with piece of chocolate after lunch. Lazy Sunday morning tucked in bed, listening to the rain, the cat curled against my stomach. Piping hot porridge for breakfast. Plaid dresses and plaid shirts and plaid scarves. All my favourite series coming back on TV. Drinking chai tea like it’s my job. Fairy lights and scented candles. Mali sitting in my lap when I meditate in the morning. Knitted jumpers. Saturday baking afternoons, and the smell of vanilla and warm cookies in the house. The way the sunset light falls on the Edinburgh skyline.

Oh and you know another thing I love? Competitions! VegFest is coming to Glasgow on Saturday 5 – Sunday 6 December and I’m giving away two tickets worth £20. Scroll down to find out the details!

Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Whisky Buttercream

[yumprint-recipe id=’36’]

[gleam url=”https://gleam.io/wT6cS/2x-weekend-vegfest-glasgow-tickets”%5D2x Weekend VegFest Glasgow Tickets[/gleam]

Did you like this post + recipe? Then sign up for email updates and receive my free ebook, 5 Recipes For A Fabulous Weekend!

Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

 

Disclaimer: this post is NOT sponsored by VegFest Scotland, they have simply decided to kindly give away two tickets to my lucky readers. Grab ’em while you can!

Spicy Cinnamon Butterscotch Doughnuts with GF Option + Vegan Birthday Cakes and Treats

Spicy Cinnamon Butterscotch Doughnuts #Vegan
Happy birthday to me, I’m turning 23!

Not quite sure where the time’s gone, to be honest. Didn’t I graduate just yesterday? Nope, that was last year. How is it August already, and the Fringe is almost over?

When she celebrated her last birthday, Liz Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) wrote on her Facebook why she loves birthdays so much. Most adults find it embarrassing to make a fuss about their birthday, she said, but if you think about it, you’re actually so lucky to celebrate your birthday for another year. You made it through another year — and maybe it was a really difficult one, so well done, you. You made it through 100% of your worst days, so you deserve to celebrate in style.

I graduated from my Masters degree with 1st Class Honours. I worked the best job ever at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, then had to take the first best available job that came. I did it for 6 long, difficult months. I scrimped and scraped what little money I earned. I moved to Edinburgh. My boyfriend moved in with me. He moved out barely 4 months later. I lost the man I thought I’d be with forever, and my best friend too. I started a new job that I love. I’m translating my ebook into French. I’m hustling so I can get a brand new kitchen and still go on holiday next year. I’m breathing. I’m still here, and I’m still breathing, and everything’s going to be alright.

This year, I’m celebrating surrounded by some of the finest, most intelligent, funniest and badass women I know. I wish I could have got all my ladies together, but we’re all busy leading incredible lives and making the most of our twenties, which really do seem to be flying by… And that’s totally fine, because years from now when we do manage to all get together, we’ll have some fantastic memories to reminisce over.

Here’s to cake, and butterscotch doughnuts, and one more year on this glorious planet. Cheers!

P.S. want to make these doughnuts gluten-free? I got ya covered. Just swap cardamom for cinnamon.
Spicy Cinnamon Butterscotch Doughnuts #Vegan

Spicy Cinnamon Butterscotch Doughnuts with GF Option

  • Servings: serves 12
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the doughnuts:

  • 250g (1 + 2/3 cups) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 250ml (1 cup) almond milk
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 3 heaped tablespoons ginger coconut sugar
  • 250g (1 cup) coconut cream

Instructions

For the doughnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease two six-cavity doughnut tins and set aside.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, ground flaxseed, ground cinnamon, sugar and baking powder) in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Gently heat the almond milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave so it’s warm, not boiling. Mixing melted coconut oil with cold milk will cause the oil to solidify, which would ruin the recipe, so this step is important.
  4. Combine the vanilla essence, warm milk and coconut oil in a small bowl, then fold into the dry ingredients. Whisk until no lumps remain.
  5. Spoon the batter into the greased doughnut pans, tidying up the sides and middles of each cavity with a cloth. Bake for 18 minutes. The tops should be firm and golden.
  6. Cool on a wire rack. To release the doughnuts, turn the pans upside down over a clean tray and give one of the sides of the pans a good thwack on the tray, the doughnuts should just pop out.
  7. When they are cooled, dip the doughnuts in the icing. Place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

For the icing:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut sugar and coconut cream. Let them melt into each other; stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Keep a watchful eye over the cream as it bubbles up. Give it about 10-15 minutes, until it’s reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once the butterscotch cream is cooled, place in the fridge to set.
  3. Once the doughnuts are baked and cooled, dip them in the icing.

And because doughnuts are not enough, I present to you … vegan cakes and treats that would be absolutely perfect for a birthday party, however small or big. Click on the photos to get the recipes.


Chocolate Mousse Cake
raw vegan brownie truffles
#Vegan #Glutenfree Walnut Coffee Cake | The Vegan Cookie Fairy
IMG_2780
vegan cardamom pistachio chocolate tart
CardamomPancakeStack_title2
After Eight Cake title 1

What’s your best birthday memory?

Did you like this post + recipe? Then sign up for email updates and receive my free ebook, 5 Recipes For A Fabulous Weekend!

Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2

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 Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse – 3 Ingredients!

How to make #vegan #aquafaba chocolate mousse tutorial
Earlier this week, I stood staring at the house I grew up and lived in for 18 years and two weeks of my life, and which I hadn’t seen for five years.

Mum and I drove past it on Tuesday, after having spent the weekend at my cousin’s wedding in Belgium. Since we were in the country, we figured it was a good opportunity to see my childhood best friend and then drive up to Flanders to see my brother. And Mum said, ‘Do you want to go see the house?’.

I didn’t know how I’d feel about it, but I knew I wanted to see it. The people who bought it from us — and made tons of changes, such as installing a pony paddock in my favourite field, where I used to read books and take walks — got divorced some years ago and sold the house for a huge loss. I don’t know who lives there now, but they have children: there were toys in the garden, and, I was pleased to see, they’d kept our old trampoline that dad brought home as a surprise one day.

We peered at the house through the fence, like thieves checking the perimeter, wondering if it’s worth the risk. Exiled. But I made that choice five years ago – it’s just weird getting the opportunity to go back, and see what you gave up.
How to make #vegan #aquafaba chocolate mousse tutorial
How to make #vegan #aquafaba chocolate mousse tutorial
The whole time I was in Belgium it felt like I’d stepped off my favourite carousel, and was now trying to hop back on but couldn’t settle into the rhythm of it anymore. My life moves to a different tune now. I asked myself constantly if I missed it — and people have been asking me that too. Would you ever move back? Do you ever miss it?

And the thing is, I want to say that I miss it — when I saw the rolling hills of the Ardennes, and walked into my old school where I bumped into my principal, and shopped on the high street where we used to go for lunch — but in reality… I don’t. I got on the plane to Scotland with such a solid feeling of purpose: I was going home.

I’m grateful for the upbringing I had, and for the place I grew up in. It forged my character, my personality, it made me innately trilingual. But there was a definite time limit on that part of my existence on this earth, and I left my little hometown at precisely the right time.  I found my spiritual home in the sun-dappled Highlands of this windswept country, and I’m proud to call the splendid city of Edinburgh my home. This place, it doesn’t just speak to me, it fucking sings to me. Home home home. These words are buried deep inside my bones. I’d die if I had to move away.

But this being said, last weekend stirred up some powerful emotions. All the things you leave behind, they’re always there somewhere for you to revisit, sometimes even in a physical place. It’s a good thing, though: it allows you to measure how much you really want the life you chose for yourself.
How to make #vegan #aquafaba chocolate mousse tutorial
How to make #vegan #aquafaba chocolate mousse tutorial
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There is comfort in the familiar, and it’s easy leading a life of routine and tradition. You don’t have to ask yourself too many questions, and you know exactly what your place is in the community. But does that mean you really chose it? I chose to deviate from the path. At times it was hard, disheartening, confusing. And yet, at no point over the last five years did I ever doubt I’d made the wrong choice in moving away.

Yesterday I showed a new friend around Edinburgh (hi Lucia!) and I felt such a pride in this city. Home home home. I cry tears of joy at random when this realisation hits me. I never believed much in destiny when I was younger, but I’m a convert now. I was always meant to be here. That is the one certainty I have in life. Through all the storms, this was my anchor: that I was meant to one day call Scotland home, for this is where my destiny and my happiness lie. 

Whatever higher power there is out there — call it what you will — I thank it daily for giving me this life.

(P.S.: Mali says hi.)

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Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 100g (3.5 oz) vegan chocolate, either dark or milk chocolate
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 packet (1 tsp) cream of tartar
  • Sweetener of choice (optional): either a drizzle of maple syrup, a good pinch of stevia or a few teaspoons of sugar

Instructions:

  1. Open a tin of chickpeas. Pour the brine (aquafaba) into a medium-sized bowl and save the chickpeas (I like eating them in a salad, or you could make some hummus).
  2. Using an electric whisk, beat the aquafaba for about 10-15 minutes, or until stiff peaks begin to form. The brine will act exactly like egg whites: first it becomes white and foamy, then the texture becomes denser until, after a while, it will become stiff enough that you can tip the bowl upside down and the whisked aquafaba remains in place.
  3. Add the cream of tartar to this in the last minutes of whisking. Place the whisked aquafaba in the fridge.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. After a few minutes, the chocolate should be melted; stir with a wooden spoon to make it silky and glossy. Set aside to cool; if you are using any sweetener, add it now.
  5. When the chocolate is cooled but still melted (you don’t want it to be too pasty — on the other hand, warm chocolate will ruin the recipe) add a dollop of the whisked aquafaba. Gently, VERY gently, fold it into the chocolate. Continue this process with the rest of the aquafaba until there is none left. You will notice the mousse will gain a lot of volume. It’s important that you complete this step slowly so as not to beat the air out of the whisked aquafaba.
  6. Pour the mousse into 4 little pots or cups, and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to set before serving.

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Love and cookies,

thevegancookiefairysignature-2