Vegan coconut cookies

Vegan coconut cookies

I’m not a massive fan of coconut but I really love these cookies, so they must be good. Sam approves too, and he loves coconut, so you now must be getting a feeling for just how delicious these cookies are.

Ingredients:

150g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
¼tsp salt
2tbsp oil
125g vegan margarine
100g light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
100g desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside
  3. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, vanilla essence, brown sugar and caster sugar until light and fluffy
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt mixture
  5. Mix in the coconut
  6. Take small handfuls of dough and shape into biscuits, place them on a lined baking tray, they should be a lot of space between each cookie as they will expand a lot
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  8. Leave to cool on a wire rack, then eat and enjoy!
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Easy to make vegan white bread with thyme

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I promised a bread recipe the other day, and here it is. This is the first time I have ever baked a loaf of bread, and I’m very proud of it. It tastes great, it rose very nicely, and was baked all the way through. it’s also really easy to make for all you new bread bakers.

Ingredients:

In the dough

500g plain flour
1 sachet (7g) of dried yeast
300ml water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp dried thyme (or any other herb you like)

On top

Small handful of thyme (or other herb)
Pinch of sea salt

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt
  2. Pour the water and olive oil into the bowl and mix well
  3. Add the thyme and mix well
  4. Knead the dough for 5 – 10 minutes (add a little extra flour if it is too sticky, or a splash more water if it seems too dry
  5. Leave the dough to rise for 2 hours (ideally so it rises to twice the original size), make sure you cover the bowl with a damp tea towel, but do not let the tea towel touch the dough
  6. After the dough has risen, give it a quick knead, then put it onto a lined baking tray. Shape the dough and make sure that it is fairly thin as it will rise a lot in the oven
  7. Add a small handful of thyme and a pinch of sea salt on top of the bread and pat it into the dough, then leave it to rise in the tray for a further 15 minutes whilst you preheat the oven at 180c
  8. Bake the bread for about 20 minutes in the oven, you will know it is done if you knock the bread on the bottom and it sounds hollow
  9. Eat and enjoy!

Vegan bake sale – Hillside Animal Sanctuary

The bake sale was completely vegan,  organised by Alex from In Vegetables We Trust, and was raising money for Hillside Animal Sanctuary. It was a brilliant success and we’ll hopefully be doing another one soon.

Yesterday was the first time that people other than my housemates tried my baking, I’m happy to report that it was a success and all of the goodies I had bought along had completely sold out by the end!

Here’s some pictures of what you missed (sorry):

bake sale

bake sale

We made our chocolate brownies (recipe here), chocolate chip cookies (recipe here) and lemon biscuits (recipe here).

Somebody came up to me afterwards to say how good the lemon biscuits were (woo).

Hopefully we’ll be doing some more in the future, so get down to Norwich if you want to try some of our yummy baked goods!

The ‘fussy eater’ food blog

When I was a child I was a ‘fussy eater’. I wouldn’t eat anything that had sauce on it, my baked beans couldn’t touch the rest of my food and I mostly ate frozen meals. My mother wasn’t a cook, so my sister and I lived on potato smiley faces, dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, fish fingers and tasteless frozen vegetables. When I was younger, my mother would tell me “no, Laura don’t eat that, you won’t like it” and this fed into my unhealthy eating habits. The lack of vegetables and the high quantity of red meat that was on offer meant that I had been completely put off food at a young age. I became a vegetarian after volunteering on a farm, I didn’t want to eat meat any more. You would assume that I would transition to a more plant-based diet, but that was not the case, instead my mother replaced processed meat with processed vegetarian sausages, burgers and sausage rolls. Whilst this wasn’t worse, I still wasn’t getting the fruit and vegetables that I needed.

When I got older, the only things that I would eat were plain pasta and plain potatoes. I went to a friend’s house when I was 16 and she was having something exotic called tomato pesto, I asked her if it would be OK with her if I just ate plain pasta with olive oil (the olive oil being very adventurous for me as I usually ate pasta completely plain). At school, in food classes I wasn’t sure what was going on, I didn’t really understand how to do the basics, I couldn’t follow a recipe, and there was no chance that I could actually improvise when making a meal. In one of my classes we were allowed to make a recipe of our own choice, and I decided on making the exotic  pesto, I didn’t realise that simply pesto (just ordinary basil pesto) and pasta without any vegetables did not constitute a full meal. I thought that it was something new and exciting to make and didn’t even realise that this was a fairy ordinary and incomplete meal.

Yum peppers

I was a vegetarian when I went to India, I was 18 years old and I had never even tried a pepper before. I tried it in India, along with many other things such as hummus, and it was such as relief to eat more like a ‘normal’ person. But I was still known as the ‘fussy’ one.

Even today I am reluctant to try new food, I just have to be in the right frame of mind to try something new. People tease me a bit about being a ‘fussy eater’, but I’m nowhere near as bad as I used to be. There are so many amazing types of food that I never tried as a child, so many vegetables that I’m sure I would have loved had I been given the chance. I read an article about giving new food to children it said that they are unlikely to like it unless you repeatedly give it to them, perhaps about 15 times, I wish my mother would have done that for me with vegetables.

Lemon drizzle cake

Before I became a vegan I never really baked, I made my first cake when I was 19 and at university. It was a lemon drizzle cake and it was made in a microwave oven, my friend taught me how to do it, and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I made a couple more cakes, but I tended to avoid baking. On the cooking side I was getting less fussy, I tried new and exciting things like bean burgers, I got over my hatred for tomato sauce and I even learnt how to make pancakes, something I had once thought was incredibly complicated and so got used to having them ready-made in packets from Tesco.

Vegan cooking

Just over three months ago I became a vegan. My family reacted with their traditional response of “oh Laura, you’re such a fussy eater, what can we possibly feed you?” I want to respond to this by  telling them that there are many different types of food that you can eat that are vegan, and it’s not just me who is fussy, it’s also you for not being willing to try vegan food.

Things I've made as a vegan

When I became a vegan I realised that I had a lot to learn about food. By now I could cook fairly good vegan meals like curries,  pasta, stews and all the basics really, so that was no longer a problem. The problem was baking, I realised that I would no longer be able to buy different types of snack food, I couldn’t really just grab a cookie from a supermarket or bakery as they simply didn’t make them vegan. So I learnt to bake, and I set up this blog as a way to document this for myself, to show myself how far I’ve come, what I’ve learnt, and to measure my progress. So these recipe on this blog are for everyone who is new to baking, is scared and confused by it, who wants to become a vegan, but also doesn’t want to miss out on the occasional treats. This blog is a beginner’s guide to vegan baking. I hope it helps.

Vegan peanut butter biscuits

Peanut butter biscuits

I’m not sure about the title of this post, I don’t think I would quite describe them as cookies (in the America way of being doughy/chewy). They have more of a texture like shortbread, and they’re incredibly floury. This makes them a little difficult to shape and roll into balls because they’re a little dry, but the results are really good so I’d recommend that you persevere with trying to get them into shape. They will be crumbly, but the effort is definitely worth it for the results!

Ingredients:

350g/12oz vegan peanut butter (most are vegan, just check the label!)
225g/8oz packed light-brown sugar
115g/4oz vegan margarine
6 tbsp oil
300g/11oz cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180c.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour and baking powder, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat peanut butter, sugar, oil and margarine until smooth.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix to combine.
  5. Take small handfuls of the dough and roll into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Using a fork, press balls in a crisscross pattern, flattening to a 1/2-inch thickness. Alternatively try and shape them into small biscuit shapes instead if you feel that they are likely to fall apart when you try to press them down with a knife.
  6. Bake biscuits, until lightly golden for about 20 minutes.
  7. Cool biscuits on a wire rack.
  8. Eat and enjoy!