September 26, 2016

Plum Chia Jam

More P fun today. 

This time we're doing something fun with plums. 

Cause plums are the perfect P fruit. Pears are great, but you cant make jam with them. Or can you? Any jam aficionados got any thoughts on that? I love peaches, but not everyone likes the fuzzy skin. Pineapples are great, but slicing them makes my hands hurt (seriously, it makes them red and itchy. The price you have to pay for essential vitamins.) 

Also - I had plums. That made them especially great. 

I didn't fancy crumble (well, I always love crumble, I just didn't fancy turning the oven on and making my room all hot to make crumble). 

So I made jam. 

Also - I like jam. I dont like all the sugar in jam. 

Making my own jam is a great remedy for that. 

Also little Tesco don't sell plum jam. Plum jam is the best. (after grape jelly, damson jam, blueberry jam, and the jam you lick out of jam tarts before leaving the pastry.)

And I've just been informed by one of the girls in my Senior Section Unit that under water hockey is a thing. I know. Who knew. 

So this recipe is based on the berry chia jam from Deliciously Ella's first cookbook, although most chia jam recipes that I've seen in various places have been pretty much alike. I've given instructions for cooking in a small slow cooker though, because I was too busy doing other things to cook it on the stovetop where stirring is required. 

So this was supposed to be a super-quick-not-much-writting post while I download a program I need to do my homework. Hence I didn't have much planned to say, I thought Id just give a brief intro and a recipe. However I underestimated how long it would the program would take to download, and so I've babbled a bit. 

Plum Chia Jam

Makes 1 jar

Based on the recipe from Deliciously Ella

  • About 1 pound plums, washed, de-stoned and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds

  • Place the plums in a small (about 1.5 litre / 6 pint) slow cooker with the honey. Stir well. 
  • Cook on low for about 1-2 hours
  • Add the chia seeds and stir in well, making sure none are stuck to the sides, then continue cooking for 2-4 hours.
  • Remove from the slow cooker and leave to cool (the jam will continue to thicken as it cools.) 
  • This jam can either be frozen or is should last about a week in the fridge. I've just finished mine off on day eight and it was fine, but I'd be wary of keeping it much longer. 
Note: There are seeds in this jam. If you're new to chia jam, you might want to start with something like a raspberry version where you'd expect the seeds. 

September 25, 2016


Quite often, I get that look from my friends when they're questioning your sanity. Like when you tell them your favorite food is apples (whats wrong with that?) or that you've never watched The Lion King (I know exactly what's wrong with that) or when they find out that you read stuff in French for fun. 

The last couple of weeks, I've been on a real badge kick - I've been trying to get as many clauses for Girlguiding badges done as possible before going back to uni this week. (So yes, there is a posiblity I should be studying right now. Who cares?) This flurry of activity has, I'm not going to lie, gotten me several more of those looks recently. 

Learn the Nato Phonetic Alphabet? Check 

Read The Magical Faraway Tree books? Check. 

Made Cupcakes I wont eat? Check 

So, there is this badge celebrating the letter P, and how All The Best Things in Life Are P. 

Why P - I still haven't QUITE got the bottom of that. But there are going to be a few more P related posts to come and so maybe by the end of them I'll have worked it out. If so- I promise I'll tell you. 

Pancakes begin with P. 

And you have to admit, pancakes are pretty perfect. 

But I awoke on a Sunday morning (involving a long story about how forgetting my library card RUINED my plans for the weekend and so I had Saturday morning pancakes on Sunday), and I decided that I wasn't going to be happy with just any old pancakes. 

I wanted P pancakes. 

And so ensued the persuance of P provisions to make purely P pancakes. 

And what ensued may be one of the most peculiar pancakes to ever prevail. 

And yes - I did get my Thesaurus out to write this post. Did you predict properly? 

Polenta, Pear and Pineapple Pancakes (vegan)

  • 5 Tablespoons Polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour (I used fine wholewheat) 
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder 
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped dried pineapple 
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseeds (linseeds) mixed with 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice 
  • 1 pear, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses (or British treacle) 
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil 
  • coconut oil/cooking spray/vegan spread to cook (I used Flora Freedom) 

  • Make the 'flax egg' by mixing the ground flax with water
  • 'Sour' the milk by combining it with the Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Mix together the polenta, plain flour, baking powder and chopped dried pineapple. 
  • After the flax egg and milk have been sitting for about 10 minutes, combine along with the coconut oil and molasses. 
  • Mix wet into dry and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped pear. 
  • Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat with cooking fat. When the pan and fat are hot, add 1/4 cup batter to the pan. It should start sizzling. Cook for about 5 minutes on one side, before flipping over and cooking on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter. These pancakes are still quite delicate when half - cooked, so a lot of care needs to be taken when flipping. Or be content with pancake scramble. 

September 08, 2016

Owl Cupcakes

Looks aren't everything. As is (quite clearly) evident. 

This is not the best looking owl cupcake that I have ever seen. If you want to look at beautiful pictures of gorgeously decorated professionally done pictures of owl cupcakes - Google it. Or check Pinterest. Its up to you. 

But are those amazingly awesome cupcakes vegan? 

Nope. See - I win there. 

That's not to say that vegan cupcakes can't look as good as professionally done ones - that's too say that vegan cupcakes can't look as good as professionally done ones WHEN I (with my un-superior skills) MAKE THEM. 

But hey - who cares what they look like - right? 

But I'm gonna let you into a little secret. I don't actually like cake. So when I'm trying to do a Girlguiding UK Challenge Badge (these are 'fun' badges created by different units, usually to raise money for that unit) and one of the things you need to do is to make a cupcake look like an owl - 

a) I am not going to get a load of stuff in that I don't eat to make them. I already had everything I needed to make these cupcakes in my cupboard apart from the icing sugar. (admittedly it was a fluke that I had the Skittles candy, but it doesn't change the fact that I still had it in my cupboard.) 

b) I am not going to make a whole batch. Cause why would I? 

It was pretty easy to 'just make these vegan'. To be honest - it didn't really require any special thinking - currently 99% of the food I own is vegan (I can only think of one thing in my cupboards which isn't) and so it really was just a case of pulling it out the cupboards. But in case you need a little inspiration (or want to follow what you think is an actually achievable owl cupcake decorating tutorial - not that I don't think you're capable of achieving greatness, I just like to think that I'm not the only one who's decorating skills are questionable.), here's how I made them. 

What you need: 

  • 1 cupcake (I used the Single Lady Cupcake from Chocolate Covered Katie) 
  • About a Tablespoon of chocolate icing - I made mine by mixing 1T cocoa powder, 2T icing sugar and then adding water by the 1/2 teaspoon till it was spreadable but not too runny. In the picture above the icing is thicker, but it was the best way to photograph it. 
  • 1 orange/yellow Skittle candy or similar
  • 2 dairy-free white chocolate and 2 dairy-free milk chocolate buttons (I got mine from Tesco) 
  • A small amount of icing in a color of your choice. I chose pink because - why not. I made this simply by mixing a spoonful of icing sugar, some pink food colouring and about 1/4 teaspoon of water. Remember to go slow when adding the water. You don't want it so thin that it will spread uncontrollably. 

Now can we take a moment to appreciate that Skittles (in the UK at least) are now vegan. 
I know. 
It's great. 

Okay, so back to business:

  • Spread the chocolate icing over the top edge of the cupcake. 
  • Place a small dot of coloured icing on the centre of the the bottom (flat side) of the white chocolate button - I used a cocktail stick to do this. 
  • Press the Skittle candy sideways into the centre of the cake. 
  • Place the white chocolate buttons on either side of the 'beak' 
  • Press two milk chocolate buttons sideways into the cake above the 'eyes' to make the 'ears'. 
  • Feeding to poor, unsuspecting friend because you don't like cake is an optional step, but one that I find ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY