Baking in Veganuary – Frangipane Tart

Veganuary doesn’t mean you can not have Treats!
I made this yummie Frangipane tart in a Gluten Free Version with Raspberries. You can choose to use different Fruit, like Apples, Pears or maybe Blueberries.

You need a little bit of time as the Pie Crust needs to rest for 30 Minutes in the Fridge, but it is absolutely worth it.

Put your baking Form (26 cm Circumference) / tin in the Fridge as well, so it is cool when you put the Dough in.

The baked Cake can be Frozen as well, so if you actually have anything left over, it will not go to waste.

Here is the Recipe:

Base – Pie Crust

250 gr Flour – (I used Buckwheat Flour as the Gluten Free Option)
1 TBSP Psyllium Husks (if you use Gluten free Flour)
50 gr Sugar
1/2 TSP Salt
120 gr cold Vegan Butter, cut into Small Pieces
60 ml (5 TBSP) cold Water
Optional: 1 TBSP Plant Based Milk + one Pinch of Tumeric



Add all ingredients and combine into a Dough. Form a Ball, put into Foil and let rest in the Fridge for 30 Minutes.

Filling

300 gr Raspberries
100 gr. Icing Sugar
approx. 1 TBSP Plant Starch

Or: 2-3 Apples / Pears

Topping

100 gr Pistachios, hacked into small Pieces.
or 100 gr flaked Almonds



Place the Raspberries into a pot, add 1-2 TBSP of Water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir until the Raspberries fall apart.
Use a Sieve and a Bowl and pass the Raspberries through it, so the Kernels are separated. If don’t mind the Kernels, you can skip this step.
Put the Raspberry “Juice” back into the pot, add the Icing Sugar and still until dissolved. Increase the heat and add the Starch. Bring briefly to boil until the Juice thickens. Take from the Heat and let it cool.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C

Vegan Frangipane

125 gr. Ground Almonds (I used blanched ones for a lighter colour)
1 TSP Baking Powder
85 gr soft Vegan Butter
85 gr. Sugar
85 gr. Apple Sauce (unsweetened)
1 Pinch of ground Vanilla (optional)
1 TBSP Plant Starch
45 ml Almond (or other) Plant Based Milk

Add the dry ingredients in one Bowl and set aside.

Place Butter and Sugar in another Bowl and use a hand mixer and beat until creamy. Add in the other ingredients and combine. Afterwards add the dry ingredients in batches until everything is well combined.



Take the Dough out of the Fridge and roll between two Sheets of either Foil or Baking paper until the Circumference is big enough for the Baking Form.
Place the Dough into the Baking Form. Use a Fork to poke some holes in the dough. Then place some Baking Paper on Top of the Dough and Add Baking Weights (blind baking). Place the Baking Form into the Oven and bake for around 15 Minutes. Remove the Baking Form from the Oven and – optional – brush the edge with the Milk/Tumeric blend for colouring. Place the Cake back in the Oven and bake for further 10 Minutes.
Remove the Baking Form and set aside to cool slightly.



Lower the Heat for the Oven to 180 °C.
Add some Tablespoons of the Frangipane Mixture on top to the Pie Crust and spread evenly. Afterwards put the Raspberry Puree on top of it and spread evenly as well*. Then place the rest of the Frangipane Mix on top of the Raspberry Puree and spread. I used a Spoon for this and then carefully spread it. As the Puree is liquid, you need to be careful to not mix it too much. Top with the Pistachios.
*If you use Apples or Pears you put all the Frangipane Mixture in the baking tin and place the Fruit on top, followed by the Pistachios or flaked Almonds.

Place the baking form back in the oven for approximately 50 Minutes. Use a Tooth Pick to see if the Cake is baked. Once this is the case, take it out of the Oven and let it cool.

And enjoy! It is also nice with some Vegan Ice Cream or Caramel Sauce!

Easy Lunch!

Veganuary has well started and I guess You will see many ads online. I am pleased with it!

Life is full of appointments, deadlines, work, family and much more so cooking or making your own lunch seems time consuming. Maybe try and shift your mindset a wee bit here. You take time to fill up your car, you take time to do your sports and too many people take too much time watching too much TV / Shows. Think of it this way: Fuelling your Body is important. Fuelling your Body with good and the right nutrients is also very important. You need your Body and it does great work every Day! Self care is not only going to a massage or workout, it is also taking care of what we Eat.

So here is one of my favourite Lunches – made in approx. 5 minutes! (To take it to work, you can pre-fry the Tofu, and take the rest with you to assemble in your Work kitchen)
You will need:

1 Slice of Bread
1 Avocado, mashed and seasoned (I use Salt and freshly ground black Pepper)
1 small Tomato
Smoked Tofu, diced
Chili Flakes (if you like them)

Toast the Bread, Peel, Smash and season the Avocado, dice the Tomato and Fry the Tofu in either a little bit of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil. Assemble and add Chili Flakes. Done!
Really yummie, Healthy and very quickly made.

Enjoy!

Happy Veganuary!

A Very Happy New Year! May this new Year be a very good one for you.

Another January, another Veganuary! As always I am delighted to see it Happening. All those adverts from various Companies to make it as easy as possible for those who would like to try, extend or go back to a plant based Diet or Lifestyle.
Being Vegan is not automatically more Healthy, as always it depends on what you eat, how much you eat and what Quality of Ingredients you decide for or can afford.
There are now some Companies delivering “Ready made” Packages for you, meaning they deliver all the Ingredients for Recipes they give you and you only need to make the Meal. Whereas I really like the idea – and would support this in our recent situation with a Global Pandemic – I am also thinking Eco-friendly and wonder how much waste is created for this kind of Model?

There are now hundreds of free Recipes that are easy and don’t have to be expensive in the Internet. Have a wee look around. If you are tight in terms of time, why not spend a couple of hours on a weekend to pre-cut and freeze Veggies? This is actually even fun with children (peeling, cutting should be done age depending!). Maybe make a wee Food Plan and go for one big Shop to get it all into the House. This way you don’t have the hassle of figuring out what to cook on the Day and have all items at Hand.
Herbs and Spices are your best Friend when it comes to the Vegan Cuisine, so I would always suggest to stock those as well.

When you take time to cook, make more than you need and freeze it for those Days where you simply are not in the mood, too tired, not feeling up for it or have really no time to cook anything. It is such a Treat and lots of Dishes actually taste better re-heated.

The Vegan Food market has changed massively in the last years, in the supermarkets and also in Cafés, Restaurants or Pubs.
So, no more excuses – go for it!

I will post some Recipes later in my Blog that should be Easy and Yummie.

For now Have a Great Veganuary and Enjoy all the new and old Dishes.

Yours
Kerstin

A Magical Wedding in the Highlands

For those of you who had the Pleasure of Travelling to the Scottish Highlands know how magical and special this Place is. One of my favourite Places on Earth! And that is exactly where I got married this Year!

Initially we didn’t think of GlenCoe, we just knew we did not want a big Wedding since we do not enjoy large Group Events for Ourselves. The Situation with the Global Pandemic also meant that many of my Friends and Family would probably not be able to attend – or would not want to travel abroad. So we were very Happy after we made the decision to have a Private Ceremony, just Ourselves for Ourselves.

During the research of how we could do it, we came across this wonderful location in GlenCoe, The KingsHouse Hotel that used to be a Hostel for Backpackers before it was partially torn down and rebuild as a Hotel. During my many many visits in GlenCoe, I had always passed it but never stopped. What a mistake!


We booked our room with the most Iconic view to Buachaille Mòr and started contacting the Authorities regarding the Paperwork, booked Neil as our Photographer, Gary as our Celebrant, Laura as my Stylist, Barbara to do her magic work on my Flowers and Sandra for our small Wedding Cake. All of this took a while, Conversations, Video calls and many Decisions that we needed to make but in the end we trusted those Professionals on their Expertise and Experience and they all did such a wonderful job.

Colour Chart from Barbara who did such a fantastic job on my Flowers, Hair Deco and Andrew’s Button Hole.


One of the biggest Challenges was to keep quiet. Besides one of my friends and my son nobody knew about this Event, other than us going on Holiday in the Highlands.
We were confronted with another unpredictable Challenge: The Scottish Weather. We had planned an Outdoor Wedding and in October you could find Snow in the Highlands or Rain, or both or Sunshine, or all of it in one day! So our Wedding outfits had to be adjustable. Due to the territory we would need to wear Walking Shoes in General and Andrew decided for a Tweed Waistcoat and a Tweed Jacket going perfectly with his new McKinnon Hunting Tartan.


Now as for my Dress – I found this wonderful and lovely Vintage Studio in London Heavenly Vintage Brides and Helena who runs it with her passion for these Treasures. She was so kind to send me some Dresses to choose from and the first I had seen on her online Shop turned out to be the perfect fit. It did not need adjusting at all!

Bridal Dresses – I decided for the Right one, literally !

I “only” needed some sort of cardigan to go with it. After a long long search, I decided to knit it myself – only 4 Weeks before the Wedding! I am an experienced knitter and had some Yarn at home that I had bought a while ago for another Project but it just turned out to be the perfect one for my Wedding Cardigan!


Another and maybe the most important item for the Wedding were our Wedding Bands. As a Fan of the Scottish Designer Sheila Fleet whose Jewellery is made on the Orkney Islands, she was our “go to”. Andrew had decided that he did not want to wear a Yellow Gold Wedding Ring and we found the perfect solution. We opted for the Omagh Ring which you can get in many different variations. “This collection in silver and gold was inspired by an Ogham inscription on the Buckquoy spindle-whorl stone, dating from the Early Middle Ages, and found at Buckquoy in Birsay, Orkney, in 1970. The inscription in Ogham is believed to read ‘a blessing on the soul”.
After some exchanges due to sizing, we got these awesome Wedding Bands in good time before our Big Day.

I am so in Love with our Rings – they couldn’t be more Scottish!

With full hearts and a very full car we made our Way to GlenCoe two Days before the Wedding. The Drive was relaxing if a little worrying due to some noises coming from the front of the car. Since it had been in the Garage just before the Journey, we were hoping for the best (it later turned out we had a broken Spring!). The Hotel was really nice and our Room rather large. The Views were the best though, unbeatably beautiful.



We picked up our Wedding Schedule in Fort William the Following Day and very quickly it was the 12th of October, our Wedding Day.
After a Hiccup with a late Breakfast and a late Stylist, everything went smoothly and the Ceremony started with a Delay of only 15 Minutes (although Andrew claims he waited Forever 🙂 ). We were so lucky with the Weather as it was perfect for an October Wedding. Only a little Rain at our last stop at the Three Sisters which you can not see in the Wedding Pictures themselves. Neither do you see all the Leaves and Dirt that got caught in the Train of my Dress. But you get a View of the Shoes I was wearing on the Day !


Gary did a fantastic Job at the Ceremony. He made it so personal and brought such an atmosphere to the Place.

We had chosen a Handfasting with a McKinnon Tartan Scarf and a Scarf that belonged to my late Father.

We also chose to drink from a Quaich which we had found on our Travel to Granton on Spey earlier in the Year. Our Drink was a Gin Tonic that we both had tried and really liked on one of our first Dates at a Gin Festival. We actually had to go an buy and mix it ourselves since we forgot the ready made one at Home 🙂


The Exchanging of the Vows was the Part I loved the most. We were left alone to do so in Private and it was the most lovely and beautiful time of the Day. This memory will stick with me Forever. And Yes, some Tears were shed – or in Andrew’s words: There was a cold Wind! 🙂


The last Part of the Ceremony was the Exchange of our Rings. Luckily no one dropped them and they fitted perfectly!


After the exchanging of our Rings we were soon legally Married and got cheered by the Hotel Guests. The only thing left was signing the Documents and enjoying our Wedding Cake. Neil and his Father David, who is also his driver, were so kind as to step in as Witnesses so we had the legal side covered.

The Relaxing part was now upon us – Changing location for more Wedding pictures. We let Neil decide where to go and he chose very well, as you can See for yourselves.
Our locations were: The Wee White House, The GlenCoe Lochan Trails and the Three Sisters. We had thought about going to the Ralston Cairn but due to the very low Clouds, Neil decided against it. (We went some days later when the Weather had changed to Sunshine and blue sky!)



The Three Sisters

The making off the Wedding pictures – Bride an Groom in Motion

We had SO much fun at our Wedding, luckily Neil captured those moments!

Some random collection of pictures:


Find the Groom !
Photographer in Action.

The Hotel provided us with a great Dinner on our Wedding night which we had in the Hotel’s Restaurant and so this Day ended just perfect. It was better than we could ever have imagined!


Dropping off the Wedding Schedule with the Witnesses signatures was our last task before we went on Honeymoon in GlenCoe for a few more Days and to the Isle of Skye afterwards.

Here are impressions from this wonderful Honeymoon.


Thank you to everyone who sent us lovely cards, words or presents to mark this wonderful occasion. We feel blessed in so many ways!

We are looking forward to married life and all the memories we will continue to make together.

Summertime – Bruschetta Time!

Summer has arrived in Scotland (yes we do get warm Days and lots of Sunshine!) and as usual, my Body goes into “cool” mode, meaning I do not need cooked meals! So Salads, Fruits, Sandwiches or easy recipes are now on high demand.

Here is one of my absolute Favourite. It is so easy to make, takes very little time and has few ingredients!

My Gluten Free Recipe:

4 Gluten Free Panini (I used the ones from Schär)
1 Garlic Clove peeled and halved
200 gr small Vine Tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

Cut the Tomatoes into Quarters, put them in a Bowl and add the Basil, Oil, Vinegar, Pepper and Salt to taste, then mix Ingredients together.

I cut the Panini before putting them in the oven into two Halves and turn them around half way through their baking time.

Spike the Garlic with a Fork and rub it onto the cut side of the Panini after they have been baked in the oven.

Using a Spoon, top the Garliced Panini with the Tomatoes and Serve.

I hope you will love this Recipe as much as I do!



Vegan and Gluten Free

I remember some years ago, when I went to a Café, I saw these “Gluten free and Vegan Cakes”. I also remember what I thought “Really? What is this cake made of?” I know, I was judgemental and did not know better!

Today I am following a Vegan and Gluten free diet. I am not a Coeliac but Gluten sensitive. Me! Who loves Bread, Cakes, Pasta and all the rest!

I started developing symptoms that I had no explanation for. More Headaches, Migraines, Brain Fog, Muscle aches, digestions problems and the weirdest: Stumbling for no reason when walking sometimes. All of those can of course have another cause (Thyroid problems, Pre/Menopause and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for example). As I went through a stressful time with renovating a new House while working two Jobs and eventually moving, I put the severity of my ill feeling down to that. But the Symptoms did not ease off after we moved. By coincidence I saw a Documentary about Gluten and why so many People struggle today which was my eye opener. Gluten itself is not harmful, neither can the body do much with it and takes longer to digest it. The development of the Grains and the Chemicals used today have made a massive change though and are believed to be the issue for so many People.

So I thought I can at least try and see if that is actually what is effecting me so much. Luckily, every Supermarket these days stock many “Free From” Products and so it was not a difficult move for me.
After a three to four weeks things got better for me, especially my bad Muscle aches. I also realised that I feel much better with less Gluten based products. “Lighter” I would describe it as.

Going into a Café or Restaurant though comes with challenges. You will find both options in General, but combined is a different story all together.
At home it is very easy. There are many options for Bread (from Schär for example) and Pasta alternatives are plenty, made from Corn, Beans, Rice, Lentils, Peas, Quinoa, Buckwheat etc.
Give it a try, they are actually really good.

So just in case you find yourself with issues as described, have a look, do some research, maybe speak to your Doctor.

I for one will stick as much as I can to a Gluten free Vegan Diet.

The recipe for the Cabbage salad with Fried Sesame Tofu from this Blog Entry will be here soon. As will others. Stay tuned 🙂

A Vegan turns 50 !

So the Big Day arrived last week. My 50. Birthday. Half a Century. It sounds sooooo old :).

Luckily most people think me younger which I don’t totally allocate to my Vegan Lifestyle. My parents never really looked that old before they passed away. My Grandmother was 91 when she died (she lived by herself almost to the end) so Genetics play a part here I guess.

I am not sure how to feel when you are Fifty. I do not feel different from being Forty at all. Also – like most people maybe – I think I am very different from my Parents in their Fifties but again, that might be down to Perception?

Whatever the Case, age does not really matter in the end. What matters is the Life you have. The Choices you make. We all live in unprecedented Times and right now it seems that this is never going to Change. But it will as it always has. Our Plans might be on hold and it might feel that our Freedom has been taken away from us. 100 Years ago, the Life we are having now was probably the Norm to most people. They worked, raised a Family, went for Walks when they could. There was no TV, Entertainment was limited to a certain amount. Life was simpler, even humble I guess. As much as I miss being able to Travel or have a Coffee in my favourite Café, I also appreciate that life seems somewhat slower. I guess now is the best Time to reflect upon your Life. Are you Happy the Way things are working out? If not, take this Opportunity, take the Chance and make the Change you might need.

Looking back on my 50 Years, some Events stand out:

Becoming a Mother
Becoming a Vegan
Making my Dream come true and move to Scotland
Starting my own Business
Publishing two Novels
Finding the most Wonderful Man I could have hoped for

At this stage in my Life I am in the Happy Position to say that I don’t miss anything. I am not craving something I don’t have. I am not Sorry for missed Opportunities.

Life is for living – let’s just do that!

A Healthy Vegan

There is always lots of Discussion around Health when Veganism is mentioned. It is either from the opposite (Omnivore) side telling a Vegan how unhealthy the Diet must be with regards to B12 or it is assumed that being Vegan must always mean you are Healthy.
Both things are a Myth. Any Diet is only as good as the Person makes it. You can have a very unhealthy Lifestyle as a Vegan and eat mainly Processed foods.
Any Processed food can be considered unhealthy and the Vegan Options are no exception to that.
Just as well when it comes to supplements and people pointing out the B12 subject, I tend to make the point that the Supplement Industry is a long standing one and is mainly serving the non Vegans.

A Balanced Diet is key, always. Our Body needs all the Nutrients, Zinc, Vitamins, Iron, Selen, Fats (Omega 3 & 6 are best). To help your Body cope with Stress, Environmental Impacts and the “wrong” Foods, Antioxidants are a key element. High concentrations are to be found in Blueberries for example (or any other dark Berries) and Dark Leafy Greens.
If you do like Matcha (I use it in my Yummie Smoothie) – it is another very good Source of it (EGCg).

One thing I would like to point out is: Go for Organic where you can. There are Options even in Lidl and Aldi in the UK if you are on a tighter Budget. The many Toxins used by “conventional” Agriculture will counterfeit your effort to live Healthy.

Sport has been a constant in my Personal Life. I am a passionate Runner, although I am struggling to get properly back into it for a year now after experiencing an injury. I still go for my Power Walks though and use my Fitness DVDs when the weather is really bad. Going for long Walks or Hill Hiking is another Passion I share with my lovely Partner – and we are in the perfect Country for that! Only three hours and we are in the Scottish Highlands.

Besides all this (and I find that rather important), we should also realise that Life is for Living and to die Healthy not necessarily the aim. A good Balance of Everything is Key I guess.

So be Happy, be Healthy but don’t forget living! Eat the Cake, have a Drink and be super lazy once in a while :).

My favourite Cosmetics

The world of Vegan Cosmetics has changed as much as Vegan Options in General. Every time I am reading a magazine, a new product is out. Even the big corporations have adapted the Cruelty Free and / or Vegan Options.
Be aware that Cruelty Free means it is not tested on animals but might still contain animal produce!
More often than not companies that go Cruelty Free also are Vegan.

Throughout the Years I have tried several Companies and seem to have settled with the ones below. This is due to my Lifestyle as a runner (all year round in Scotland!) and the fact that I have very sensitive skin. I am not a fan of Five different Creams for your Face. I also don’t use a lot of Make-up so I do not have lot of “Remove-Products”.

Also my Beauty Routine changes depending on the time of year. In the Summer months, I love to use a Serum Product and / or a Fluid and in the Winter months a Cream.

So here come my favourite Brands:

Lavera: Absolutely Love them! They have started as one of the first to produce Natural Beauty Products and have a large Vegan Range. Their Produce is so good that I actually do not use their “Sensitive Range”.

Weleda: I mainly use their Hand Cream and Deodorant, sometimes their Almond BodyLotion which is heavenly! Weleda is more pricy than Lavera but still not as expensive as other Companies!

John Masters Organics: I LOVE their “Hair Spray”. It is actually a Styling Product that can be used in wet or dry Hair. Not a Spray but used with a Pump. I use it for some years now and am super Happy with it. I also use their Hair Milk which is fantastic and nourishes the Hair. My Hair Dresser always comments on how healthy my hair looks – although I use a Hairdryer daily (in Winter).

Green People: They make some of the best Shampoos on the market. Again: Their price appears high but you only need a small amount which you will learn quickly.

Rituals: They have created a total Vegan Beauty Range last year and I really really like it! At the moment I use their Eye Fluid and Eye Cream, both work very well.

This is a selection of what I use – I will do another Post on this later with more Products.

10 Years a Vegan – Yay !

It is 2021 and I realised some days ago that this is my 10th Anniversary of becoming a Vegan. So Congratulations to me :).
The picture shows me hosting my Birthday Party for the first time with only Vegan Food. Everybody loved it! Since then my journey has continued, I have learnt more about Veganism, swapped more things to the Vegan Option and found hundreds of yummie recipes or made my own.

I remember back then some people thought “I lost it” – the majority was curious and some even tried Vegan Options themselves.
I never regretted this decision nor will I ever. To the Day Veganism seems to be controversial, especially for the Dairy and Meat Industry. We all know why! However, the growing numbers of Vegans or Flexitarians speak for themselves and this new awareness will only grow from here.

How did Einstein put it “Nothing will benefit Human Health and increase the Chances of Survival of Life on Earth as much as the Evolution to a Vegetarian Diet.”

I for one believe that he was right, even though I think that the Vegan way is even better.

Now, time for me to pop a bottle and celebrate!

Below a collection of pictures from the last 10 years (one from each).