Baked Lemon and Sultana Almond Cheesecake

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Here, I am trying to recreate one of my favourite childhood desserts- Marks and Spencer lemon and sultana cheesecake. It was my mum’s favourite too but then I think they changed the recipe and it got too sweet and she went off it. I think it would still be nice if you omitted the brown rice syrup but I do like to add a bit of sugar!

I based it on this recipe for almond feta which was very successful for me!

Ingredients

200g ground almonds

Juice and zest of 3-4 small lemons (mine yielded about 100ml juice)

100ml water

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp brown rice syrup

50g sultanas

Put all the ingredients except for the sultanas in a blender and blend into a thick cream texture.

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Mix in the sultanas and put in a muslin cloth within the bowl that you will bake it in.

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Tie up the muslin cloth and leave in the fridge for several hours. A small amount of liquid will drain off.

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Unwrap, place the block of cheesecake back into the bowl and bake in the oven at 180’C for half an hour.

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Allow to chill and serve sliced!

2012-10-04 07.22.33I think it’s quite close to the original Marks and Spencer cake I was recreating, with a nice almondy edge!

Lovely vegan food swap- September

2012-09-23 05.51.30This month’s vegan food swap came from Jade in Lancashire. She wrote me a really lovely little card about what was in the box and her life as a vegan which was a cute touch. Even better- the card is impregnated with thyme seeds so can be planted and I can grow herbs!!!

Jade mentioned that all the food was from local shops and markets. This made me feel a bit bad about my over-reliance on supermarkets for food swaps and I am going to try to use local shops more in future.

I picked up the box from the  post office on my way home from work one night when I was really hungry so may have eaten a bit of it before I had the chance to take a photo (I really need to stop photographing things on my ironing board) so you may notice that the fruit snack and mini-moo honeycomb are just the wrappers. I do like the real-fruit-mushed-into-bars concept so enjoyed the fruit snack bar and the bear rolls. The mini-moo honeycomb chocolate bar was amazing! How have I not had one before? Granted I was picking honeycomb out of my teeth in a traffic jam but it was so tasty!!!!

There was also a bar of dark chocolate with orange which I think must be buried in the photo but I nibbled on it a bit on my way home too and it was good!

When I opened the box initially, there was this amazing herby fragrance which came from the arabiata mix from the market in the middle of the photo. This stuff is great and I’ve used it in stews, tomato sauces and on noodles.

The pretzels made a good snack one evening and R helped me out with the super hot jalapeno crisps! I loved the provamel almond drink, it was really sweet and like an almond milkshake and was great after the gym one morning. The soyesse black cherry soya yoghurt was also yummy.

Aha, the little blue bag sticking out from under the english breakfast tea was a mini pack of  oreos. Love them.

I haven’t got around to the clearspring miso soup yet but it’s in my work cupboard for a hunger emergency and I like miso soup! I also haven’t had all the teas, one of which is olive leaf which I haven’t quite found an occasion for but I will as Jade says it’s really nice!

So thanks, Jade, for putting in so much effort and sending me lovely treats!

UK vegan food swap link: http://www.tohappyvegans.com/wordpress/uk-vegan-food-swap/

And a guide to being an awesome swapper: http://www.tohappyvegans.com/wordpress/uk-vegan-food-swap-september-2013/

What I ate this week

I have enlisted the help of a personal trainer and he asked me to keep a food diary for a week so he knows what my diet is like before he makes any nutritional suggestions. I thought I’d share this as I always find it interesting to see what other people eat on a typical day. I tried to take photos of most of my food. I haven’t included drink but generally will have a couple of diet cokes when I’m out, several pints of water, tea and coffee during the day.

I started on the Saturday after seeing the PT first thing.

Saturday

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Saturday Breakfast

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Saturday dinner-Sainsburys Taste the difference Tabbouleh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast: Scrambled tofu with 2 veggie ‘bacon rashers’ and brown sauce. Soy latte.

Snack: Montezuma dark chocolate buttons

Then I went to a cycling lesson to learn how to cycle in London traffic! I was really hungry when I got back so made a very quick meal of

Lunch: Noodles with curry powder and a black cherry soya yoghurt.

We headed into London and met my parents and had a look around a couple of ‘open’ buildings (it was London Open Houses weekend) including the royal courts of justice which was cool. Then back to the parents’ hotel room for:

Snack: Black coffee, a few original pringles and 3 nairns stem ginger oatcakes.

We had to head off to Jurassic Park: The Musical (which was pretty funny!) in Little Venice so picked up some food from Sainsburys.

Dinner: Sainsburys taste the difference Tabbouleh salad and roasted salted pistachios.

I was hungry by the time we got home so had some toast and marmalade.

Sunday

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Sunday Breakfast

Mushroom risotto on toast

Mushroom risotto on toast

Chocolate chia pudding

Chocolate chia pudding

Breakfast: Scrambled tofu on toast with 1 veggie ‘bacon rasher’ and brown sauce. Soy latte.

Snacks: Chocolate chia pudding (chia seeds soaked overnight in chocolate soy milk), roasted and salted pistachios, small bar of dark chocolate.

Lunch: 3 slices of toast

Dinner: Mushroom risotto on toast followed by another (espresso cup of) chocolate chia pudding.

Snack: Black pepper popcorn

Monday

Overnight oats (weekday breakfast)

Overnight oats (weekday breakfast)

Monday lunch

Monday lunch

Monday dinner

Monday dinner

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast: Overnight oats- oats, chia seeds and cinnamon soaked in light soya milk overnight

Snacks: Apple, nectarine and small (30g) bar dark chocolate

Lunch: leftover mushroom risotto and a bag of wasabi glaze popcorn.

Dinner: courgette and carrot ‘noodles’ with arabiata tomato sauce (carrots and courgette spiralized in tomato sauce and arabiata seasoning from vegan food swap parcel) with 2 slices of toast with pure. Followed by a bowl of Neapolitan Swedish Glace.

Snacks: another small bar of chocolate and a sherbet fountain 

Tuesday

Tuesday Lunch

Tuesday Lunch

Tuesday dinner

Tuesday dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast: Overnight oats

Snacks: Apple, nectarine and small (30g) bar dark chocolate

Lunch: leftover courgette and carrot ‘noodles’ with arabiata tomato sauce

Dinner: Ratatouille with raw cauliflower rice, 2 slices toast and pure.

Snacks: Some Montezuma dark chocolate buttons

 

Wednesday

Wednesday lunch

Wednesday lunch

Toast snack

Toast snack

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast: Overnight oats

Snacks: Apple and nectarine

Lunch: leftover ratatouille with raw cauliflower rice, most of a box of orgran amaretti biscotti, Starbucks soy coffee frapuccino

Dinner: Bento box from somewhere in South Kensington with tofu, rice, root veg salad and seaweed salad. A glass of white wine.

Snacks: Black pepper crisps, 2 slices of toast with pure when I got home.

 

Thursday

Thursday lunch

Thursday lunch

Breakfast: Overnight oats

Snacks: Apple and nectarine

Lunch: bulgar wheat with chopped tofu and raw mushrooms, dressed in sushi vinegar and soy sauce

(I made this late on Thursday night and I think I did an alright job!)

Dinner: Curry Buffet from

Indian Veg Bhelpoori House

Official website: http://theindianveg.wordpress.com/

Address: 92-93 Chapel Market, N1 9EX

Nearest tube: Angel

I always love the food here and have brought a lot of non-vegetarian friends who have enjoyed it too. There are usually at least 2 kinds of curry plus a dal, plain basmati rice, brown rice, or pilau, a salad bar, pakora, poppadum, and awesome poori that taste a bit like vegan Yorkshire puddings. As much food as you like for £5.50 a head. Also it’s BYOB for no extra charge so I had a nice Aspall’s cider from waitrose plus a couple of glasses of red wine.

The décor in this restaurant is also really interesting with facts, articles and statistics about nutrition, mainly along the lines of meat, dairy and alcohol are bad for you, vegans feel healthier. Some might describe this as “vegan propaganda” but I quite like it, as did some of the friends I took this time!

 

Friday

I was a bit ill overnight and was feeling super rough on Friday morning after no sleep. I was inclined to blame the buffet but I think everyone else was fine after the same food so I guess I picked up some kind of bug from using the underground or a cashpoint or something. Anyway, at least it meant I didn’t eat as much as I normally would!

Lunch:  one and a half warburtons sandwich wraps spread with pure (I was in that state of being really hungry but still feeling quite sick so nice plain wheaty food felt like the right way to go)

Snacks: Some strawberries and coconut water, the remains of my Neapolitan Swedish glace.

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

Dinner: Pearl barley with summer vegetables.

Friday dinner

Friday dinner

I was out for dinner at the Hawksmoore, Spitalfields celebrating my father-in-law’s 60th. They always make me a nice vegan dish and look after me well, and normally offer an adapted starter and sorbet for pudding too. It’s a very nice place. They also serve amazing cocktails but I still felt too ill for alcohol so just had a few sips of whatever R had (whisky, old-fashioned, red wine, dessert wine) and a diet coke and lots of tap water for me!

So there’s my week of food. I think I definitely have too much sugar but otherwise I think I do ok as a vegan!

Studenty spaghetti

Not really sure what to call this dish. Similarly to the courgette noodles, it’s a bit of a concept that you can do what you want with. It comes from a friend of mine from university who said to me once:

“Hey, if you’ve ever got nothing to eat, try making a sauce for spaghetti out of peanut butter and soy sauce, it’s great”

It is!!!!

Ingredients (serves one)

100g Spaghetti

½ clove minced garlic

5-6 mushrooms, chopped

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

3 tbsp water

 

Boil the spaghetti in salted water until cooked. While it’s cooking, fry the garlic in some oil and add the mushrooms (or other vegetables) and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce and water and mix together into a sauce.

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Drain the pasta and toss in the sauce. Eat.

2012-09-03 06.41.17

Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Another August, another trip to Edinburgh. This year’s recommendations are: James Bran (@ajamesbran)- funny haiku man, Jay Foreman- twee, comedy songs, Luke Wright (@lukewrightpoet) always amazing poetry and Claudia O’Doherty (@ClaudiaODoherty)- I LOVE THIS WOMAN- SEE HER SHOW!

Onto food…

The Auld Hoose, 33-35 St Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9QN

Official Website: http://www.theauldhoose.co.uk/

No photos but this student pub was a winner with me and my parents! Loads of vegan options as well as the standard pub fare, I wish we’d had room to share some vegan nachos! Vegan options on the menu are clearly marked and range from cheesy chips to Burritos, Chilli and a falafel burger.

What I did have, at about 3pm, was the all day veggie breakfast. To make it vegan you substitute the egg in the normal breakfast for one of the other items. R was ordering for me so he doubled up my haggis. Sausages which weren’t a kind I’d had before but were nice crispy mealy ones, awesome veggie haggis patties, mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans. A big plateful and I was stuffed after it!

My mother went for another vegan option, haggis neeps and tatties. Another huge plats with the haggis a bit more broken up than on my breakfast and a good pile of mashed potato and another of mashed turnip, she really enjoyed it too.

Service was pleasant, there was an extensive bar and it was a sweet little pub. I can’t believe I hadn’t been before but it’s up there as a new favourite!

Bonsai, 46 Richmond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DZ

Official Website http://www.bonsaibarbistro.co.uk/

I know, another review of a non-vegetarian restaurant but they do great vegan options and were happy to go and check things with the chef like whether or not the tempura batter had egg in (it didn’t: score!)

I had edamame beans, some nice avocado and red pepper maki rolls, a shitake mushroom hand cone and vegetable tempura:

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Lots to eat and easy to go with friends/family. I always find the waiting staff friendly and they know the food and give recommendations. Also the toilets are really interesting.

The Piemaker, 33 South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1LL

Official Website: http://www.thepiemaker.co.uk/

I’m a big fan of this place. On the way to the train station to go home I insisted that we stopped off so I could get a vegan pastie. They normally have at least 2 vegan options on savoury pasties, although I’ve only had fruit ones from there before. I was pretty excited and chose a thai vegetable pastie over the Mediterranean vegetable option.

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Unfortunately, once I started eating this on the train it became apparent that I’d actually been given a garlic mushroom pastie (which were next to the thai veg ones on the shelf) and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t vegan, so R ate it for me and I ate my cake from…

The Baked Potato Shop, 56 Cockburn* Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PB

*note this is pronounced “Co’burn”, to save your embarrassment…

Official website: https://www.facebook.com/thebakedpotatoshop

I just dropped in at about 10:15am so no baked potato for me but they had a lovely carrot cake labelled vegan and it was indeed awesome. Moist with a slightly lemony creamy topping.

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I’m a massive fan of the baked potato shop. They give huge portions (I think standard is TWO potatoes) have loads of toppings, many vegan including their home-made vegan haggis. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of this haggis as it has DRIED FRUIT in it and I have some issues with dried fruit in savoury food (I am working on it) but anyway, vegan cake and awesome potatoes and good value. Go there!

Hopefully I will have even more exciting places to eat in Edinburgh in 2014!

Home-made pan-fried potato gnocchi

Now I did mean to post this a week ago when gcse results came out. It’s been ten years since I got my gcse results! One thing I, and my parents, remember from that time is my food technology coursework. I can’t remember exactly what the theme was, I think I managed to choose something vague like “vegetarian dinners” and my dish that I made over and over again (improving each time!) was potato gnocchi with a roasted tomato sauce. I’ve tweaked my recipe a little bit over the years but I am a huge fan of gnocchi.

Ingredients

4 medium sized baking potatoes

1 tablespoon vegan margarine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

150g “00” (or just plain) flour

Salt and pepper

Little bit of coarse semolina

Bake the potatoes in the oven at 150’C for an hour and a half until cooked through.

Scoop out the flesh (or peel after dropping into cold water), allow to cool slightly and mash really well with the margarine , chives, salt and pepper.

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Add half the flour and stir in until incorporated. Add the rest of the flour and get your hands involved, bringing together into a dough.

Roll the dough into long sausages and then chop into small dumplings using a wet knife.

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Use a fork to leave an indent in each one and roll in semolina.

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Chill or freeze until ready to cook.

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To serve:

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop in the gnocchi. After a few minutes, the dumplings should rise to the surface. Retrieve from the water, drain and then fry in hot oil and serve with your favourite pasta sauce.

August vegan food swap

Another awesome parcel from Sasha

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I requested that it was kept fairly ‘healthy’ this month as I’ve been eating a lot of sugar recently and my body/skin is not thanking me for it. Sasha came up trumps and sent me some lovely healthy snacks.

-Little bag of garlic olives. Lovely, good to have some portion control and easy little bag to carry to work.

-Nims fruit crisps. These were really nice crispy dried pineapple. I hadn’t had them before but I’ll be seeking them out again!

-Amazing white chocolate with freeze dried strawberry. This was so unbelievably good.  And I didn’t feel too bad about eating it as the other stuff was more savoury!

-Seed sprinkles- I ate these from the packet as a mid-morning snack but they’d also be good sprinkled over a salad or houmous.

-Saviour snacks nut and berry mix- with almonds, raisins, goji berries and pumpkin seeds. Great mix. It says on the packet ‘Keep yourself bouncing with this mix’ so I did some bouncing.

-Mushroom ketchup- This is great on baked beans and R used it in a sausage casserole the other day in which it went very well. I also think it would be good in a mushroom risotto. I had tried it once before ages ago and forgotten how good it was. New store cupboard staple.

-mini lovehearts ❤

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

-The best almonds I have ever had!!! They were home soaked-, juicy, succulent and so so tasty. The most satisfying nuts I’ve ever had. I assume that something like tamari was used to flavour them and I must work out how to do this myself.

Thanks, Sasha!

xxx