Vegan advent calendar 4th Dec – Christmas tree spiced shortbread

Vegan advent calendar

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Christmas shortbread

Om nom nom shortbread. You know, I haven’t made shortbread since I was a child, so making a vegan version is definitely going to be a challenge for me.  Luckily, the recipe in my Mum’s cookbook (read about that here) didn’t require eggs like some recipes I’ve seen. So the only substitution was to use vegan margarine instead of butter. I also upped the quantity of marg, as I just wasn’t getting a dough, and I added spices to give it a more festive feeling.

shorttray

Ingredients

6 oz vegan marg

6 oz flour

2 oz caster sugar

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the margin,spices, sugar and knead into a dough.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface till about 1/4 inch thick (quick tip: an inch is roughly the length from the tip of your thumb to it’s first knuckle, use that as a guide).

Cut into Christmas tree shapes (you can buy biscuit cutters in most supermarkets) and place onto an oiled baking tray.

If you want to hang your Christmas tree shortbread biscuits on your Christmas tree, then make a little hole in the dough at the top, by using a sharp knife.

Bake in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes.

Decorate however you want. Getting children to help with this is a fun task. Try sprinkling sugar, edible glitter, edible gold. Ice them with icing sugar tinsel and baubles. Go crazy with colour. It’s Christmas after all!

shorthang

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Vegan advent calendar 3rd Dec – vegan gift guide @ Lush

I gave a brief introduction of my aims of this vegan blog post advent calendar advent calendar on 1st December. I hope it will be of use to vegans and non-vegans alike. I’m hoping to suggest easy ways to make Christmas more vegan friendly and also highlight some great products that could be bought as gifts for vegans or by vegans. I know I always get asked what I want for Christmas by non-vegans who are just stumped about what to buy me, a vegan, as the usual fall back of chocolate is (they assume) out of the window.  You can already check out my posts on actual vegan advent calendars and vegan mince for mince pies or presents, by clicking on the links for 1st Dec and 2nd Dec.

Vegan advent calendar

1st | 2nd | 3rd | 4th | 5th | 6th | 7th | 8th | 9th | 10th | 11th | 12th | 13th | 14th| 15th| 16th | 17th | 18th | 19th | 20th | 21st | 22nd | 23rd | 24th | 25th|

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Vegan advent calendar 2nd Dec – Home-made mincemeat

No, not the meaty kind of mincemeat. The kind to make  mince pies with, of course! The perfect thing to get you in the mood for Christmas, if you weren’t already (I refuse to start being Christmassy until December!). Home-made mincemeat can be put in cute little jars to make an adorable present, if you’re not planning on turning into mince pies, obviously 😛

The recipe below is based on a recipe from  a cookbook my Mum was given in the late 60s/early 70s, when she was first married. It has lots of amazing traditional recipe in it, I’m absolutely loving the challenge of turning the recipe into vegan versions. The book is by Marguerite Patten and is nearly falling apart, it’s seen so much use!

mincegift

Seriously, how cute are these?

It is very easy to substitute ingredients in the recipe, depending on what you have in the cupboard. For example, the original recipe calls for mixed peels, but I had none, so I used chopped candied ginger instead. Feel free to swap and change any ingredients you please and don’t forget to let me know the results of any experiments 🙂

ginger

Chopped ginger

Ingredients – makes roughly 4 jars

125g Vegan suet or margarine  (I would recommend suet if you are giving it as a gift, margarine does not make the most attractive mince. I used marg in this vesion, so I apologise for the photos!)

1 grated apple

125g sultanas, raisins etc.

125g brown sugar

125g nuts (I used chopped almonds)

75g chopped candied ginger

Zest and juice of one orange

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 tablespoons of amaretto (or alcohol of choice)

mincemix

Mince is very easy to make, just as simple as combining all ingredients and putting them in jars. If you are planning to keep the mince for a longer amount of time, make sure to sterilise your jars and seal them with wax discs and cellophane. The alcohol in this recipe also helps with preserving, but the book says you can substitute it for orange or lemon juice, but your mince won’t keep as long.

I have a theory that people who say they don’t like mince pies have only tried supermarket mince pies, not home made mince pies! Or said they didn’t like them as a child because the filling was brown and/or had fruit in. Please give mince pies a chance, they such a yummy British tradition. What’s your opinion on mince pies/my theory? 🙂

Vegan advent calendar 1st December – Advent Calendars!

Well, it’s been a little quiet here for the past week, as I’ve been preparing for my self-challenged challenge, a vegan advent calendar of blog posts! That is, one post everyday in December with tips on how to have a vegan Christmas. From highlighting various gifts that are vegan friendly, to how to make vegan mince pies, I’ll try my best to be as informative as possible this December.

So, the theme for today is vegan advent calendars. For the first few years when I went vegan, I had to make do without an advent calendar. You could say that I’m too old for an advent calendar anyway, but I say you’re never too old for a daily allowance of chocolate.

There are more and more advent calendars on the market, so without further ado, here are some of the ones I’ve found.

Holland and Barrett

I saw this advent calendar advertised on the television this year. I have not seen it before, so I’m not sure if it is new for this year or not. It is no longer available on the website, but with a bit of luck your local H&B will have one left 🙂

Moo Free

This is the advent calendar I purchased this year, from my local independent health food shop. It isn’t bad for the price, but they do tend to sell out quickly. You can’t buy them direct from their website, but there are plenty of retailers. At the time of writing, Vegan Store still has some in stock.

Montezumas

Montezumas do a more luxurious advent calendar, and this is reflected by the price. However, it is now on offer, presumably because it is 1st December.

Hotel chocolat

Another luxury one and for fans of dark chocolate and possibly a slightly less childish one, but again it is more expensive.

Plamil

Unfortunately this one seems to have sold out on their website. I’m unaware if there are any other retailers, but I’m putting it on the list for future reference 🙂 EDIT: These advent calendars can be purchased here

Celtic Choices

Same story with this one, sold out already. You might get lucky and find it for sale at another retailer though.

Do you buy or make vegan advent calendars? Have I missed any? The countdown to Christmas has officially begun.

Vegan on the highstreet – Food and Restaurants

(aka “where can vegans eat?”)

Going into town with your friends? Not sure what to do for lunch? Birthday bash at a restaurant? Never fear, there are options for you! Assuming your friend’s don’t want to go to a vegan or vegetarian restaurant/cafe (you can also take them when it’s your birthday, right?) there are plenty of places that do have vegan options on the menu, you just have to know how to ask.

Most restaurants keep a close eye on the allergens present in their food and can advise you as such. Ask if they have an allergens menu that they can provide for you. Most do, either at the actual restaurant or online, so you check before you go. However, here’s a list of some I’ve researched in advance. All of the information is collected/valid November 2013. Ta-dah 🙂

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The Vegan Kind – 1st box review

vk8

Some of you lovely people may remember when I posted about The Vegan Kind last month. Well, I did subscribe and their first box arrived at my door a few days ago. Yay! For those that don’t remember, The Vegan Kind is a monthly vegan lifestyle subscription box, that sends you lots of different vegan goodies to sample.

Moving on to the box. This month I was sent some lovely sweets from Goodygoodstuff, QI tea sample, soap nut samples, miso bouillon, a recipe for vegan leek and potato soup by Vegan Vox, The Vegg vegan egg replacer, Salt of the earth vegan deodorant and a cute badge  by Koolbadges.

 

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Bonfire Night recipes – roundup

vegan bonfire night

So in the run up to Bonfire Night (TUESDAY!!) I’ve been lurking around blogs on wordpress looking for perfect recipes to complement the best night of the year. Oh yes, I dare to say it.  Unfortunately, it looks like I’m not going to be able have have a Bonfire party this year, but that doesn’t stop me from looking, longingly, at what others are creating this autumn.  I’ve seen some absolutely delicious looking recipes! Here are some some of my favourites, so if you are hosting your very own vegan bonfire night bash, take a gander at the links below.

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