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!

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

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!



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!

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).

Vegan Cheesecake

I admit it, I used to love Cheesecake when I was Vegetarian. The one you make with “Quark”. As my son loved it equally, I often ended up buying my own cake that I had baked for Kindergarten or School Summer Fests as a Sponsor!

When I became a Vegan, I found it very hard to find the right substitute for Curd Cheese or Quark as it is commonly known. I tried many things but not all results were satisfying.
I eventually made my own Substitute using Cashews with probiotics which is lovely but surely very rich in calories.

My newest attempt was to use Coconut Yogurt mixed with Oat based Crème Fraiche. That really worked although next time I will also add Aquafaba to get a result a wee bit more fluffy.
However, here is my recipe:
Preheat the oven to 200 °C.

For the dough:

150 gr Flour
5 Tbsp Sugar
1 pinch of Salt
70 gr Vegan Butter
3 Tbsp plant based milk (I used Almond)

Mix all ingredients together by hand. Roll the dough on a floured surface with a Pin roller and add to a baking tin (18 cm in diameter)
Use a fork to pinch the dough so it can bake through properly.

For the filling:

60 gr. Vegan Butter
90 gr. Sugar
90 gr. ground Almonds
80 gr. Starch (I used Potato Starch)
Zest from 1 Lemon
1 pinch of baking powder
1-2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
1 pinch of ground Vanilla
400 gr. Coconut Yogurt
75 gr. plant based Crème Fraiche
You can also use some Vegan Egg for the colour.

Place the Butter and Sugar in a bowl and mix together until smooth. Add the other ingredients and stir together with a cooking spoon.
Pour the filling into the baking tin and place into the oven for approximately 45 minutes.
I used some of the dough to cut out some hearts which I placed on top of the filling. I also covered the cake for the first 30 minutes of the bake as I know my oven is very quick.

When the Cake is baked, switch off the oven, open the door a wee bit and let the Cake cool in the oven for some time. It might still sink in (like mine did) but if you are lucky, it won’t.

You can freeze the Cake should you not eat it within a couple of days. It is best stored in the Fridge or another cool place.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Vegan in Winter

Winter holds all of us firmly in it’s grip these days and colds and flus are going around everywhere. The best way to avoid any of this is a robust immune system which comes – in my view – with Exercise and good Nutrition.
I personally crave more Carbohydrates in Winter and I love my hot Soups! It is always good to listen to your body – it knows best what it needs.

So how do I try to stay healthy in the winter months? I still exercise – running that is – no matter the weather or temperature. Unless it is raining Cats and Dogs 🙂 .
Even a brisk walk is better than not working out at all and luckily I do have some good DVDs and a Stepper in the House, should it be dreadful out there.

In terms of nutrition, I try to focus on my Vitamin C intake which we all know is so important to avoid any infections and / or help our body if we caught one.

Here are some of the Foods that have very high concentrations of Vitamin C and are easily available. There are some that are much higher in Vitamin C but not easy to find hence I left those out.

Parsley                                            0,16 gr / 100 gr
Brussel Sprouts                             0,12 gr / 100 gr
Pepper (red)                                   0,10 gr / 100 gr
Broccoli                                           0,09 gr / 100 gr
Kiwi                                                 0,06 gr / 100 gr
Lemon / Orange                            0,05 gr / 100 gr

All these you should be able to find in local Supermarkets and even smaller “Express” Stores! I usually try to find the Organic Version as I am a convinced Organic Buyer.

Another important Vitamin is Vitamin D. Many people, especially in Winter, are insufficient in Vitamin D. Our body can not produce it unless exposed to the Sun and that’s the tricky part during this time of the year. If you are lucky enough to live in a Sun rich country, then you should get enough Vitamin D throughout the year. Up North, where I live, you have to make an effort. If you have the chance to be exposed approx. 30 mins to the Sun each day, your Vitamin D will be perfect. Otherwise probably not.
So the only way in the dark days is as Supplement which you can get online or at a Health Store. I am very bad with pills so I try the “exposure” approach and even though people think, it always rains in Scotland, I can assure you that it does not 😉

Eating the Rainbow in Winter is very easy these days as the world has become a small place. We can get almost every Fruit and Vegetable all year around. I try a sustainable approach in my life and act Eco-friendly. But my glitch actually is fruit. Blueberries, in Winter. Yes, I admit it, I buy them. In Winter. So you see, nobody is perfect, not even the Vegans 😉 .
However, try to eat as natural as you can in Winter. Cale and Cabbage are nutritious Foods and easy to cook and prepare in advance. Potatoes, Carrots, Cauliflower, Parsnip, Turnips, Onions are great Winter Vegetables for Stews and Soups. If you want to only buy local, there are Veg-Boxes schemes from Organic farmers and they are normally delivered to your door free of charge, without packaging and a box returning scheme.

So stay healthy, keep fit and your immune system in good shape too!

Happy New Year!

It is 2019, yay! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a good start to this year. I had a quiet time and enjoyed it thoroughly. Reading, knitting, running and not having to be woken up by the alarm is a nice change.
So now back to the routine. My body is craving to get back into “cleaner” eating. I like to indulge at Christmas time but I have to admit that the Sugar and the amount of Carbohydrates I consumed is something my body is not too happy with. So this was my annual glitch and I am looking forward to my usual diet again.
There will be many new Vegan Products on the market this year and Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Sainsbury’s in the UK are all increasing their Vegan range. Even Greggs has a Vegan Sausage now. I have to say, I won’t try it as I am no fan of Greggs and personally not necessarily need a Vegan Sausage. But maybe I miss out, who knows?

So this entry is only to say Happy New Year! I really hope that all you plan for or want to do in 2019 comes true.

Thanks for keep reading my blog and don’t be shy to comment if you like.

 

Lazy Sunday

As autumn is now on our doorstep, the days get colder, the wind picks up and the green turns into yellow, gold and red. I love autumn!
It also means we stay inside longer and the drive to do something might fade. There will be days when the world outside is grey with clouds and rain or we had a party the night before and feel like having a lazy Sunday.

What I do on those days is just taking it easy, do what I fancy doing, which normally is reading, knitting or listening to music. I am also lazy in the kitchen on those days 🙂

One of my favourite Breakfasts or Brunch is the “Tomato-Avocado-Sandwich”. So easy to do. Just slice up some tomatoes, crush some Avocado, Pepper & Salt – done!
Super tasty, quick to make and healthy as well.

As you see, there are super easy ways to eat Vegan without any hassle or long preparations.

Sunday often is Pancake Day – I will soon give you my pancake recipes! Keep following 🙂