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 banana cake

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This cake tastes brilliant fresh out of the oven, but even better if you leave it to cool down, so if you can control the urge to scoff it down, do so! I took my cake out of the oven a little bit too early (after 35 minutes), so I recommend that you leave it in for a little longer, which should be fine as it’s set on a fairly low temperature. Let me know how it went by commenting below 🙂

Ingredients:

125g/4oz vegan margarine

150g/5oz caster sugar (or granulated sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp oil

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

190g/6oz plain flour

1tsp baking powder

60ml/2 fl oz soya (or other non-dairy) milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 150 C fan oven (or 170 C regular, Gas mark 3)
  2. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  3. Melt vegan margarine, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. Remove from heat and add the mashed bananas, mix well.
  5. Add the oil, mix well.
  6. Stir in the flour, baking powder and the milk.
  7. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until it browns and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool and enjoy!

Related articles:
Vegan Banana muffins

Sunday dinner

For any vegan (whose family doesn’t understand why anyone would not want to eat meat) Sunday dinners can be slightly traumatic. The constant questioning regarding what you could possibly eat gets a little frustrating. Therefore, we have decided to make a Sunday dinner that any omnivore would approve of. This dinner uses Linda McCartney’s vegan sausages, Bisto instant gravy and the following recipe from our blog for the vegan Yorkshire puddings

Here are the pictures from our Sunday dinner:

sunday dinner

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Once again, the recipe for the Yorkshire puddings is here. Soon we’ll make a nut roast and post it here, we just couldn’t be bothered this week.

Vegan double chocolate cookies

Thanks for the picture ‘simplezest.blogspot.co.uk’

So the last cookies I made were amazing, and I couldn’t help but think that they’d be even more amazing if they were double chocolate cookies (because who doesn’t like more chocolate?) so here they are. These cookies are so tasty, gooey and so good when you bite into a bit that has chocolate melted in it.

Ingredients:

(makes 18 cookies)

280g/8oz vegan margarine

400g/14oz sugar

4 tbsp oil

2 tsp vanilla extract/essence

250g/8.5oz plain flour

65g/2oz unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

300g/10.5oz vegan chocolate (can be dark chocolate, milk chocolate like moo free, or white chocolate and a combination works well too)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar.
  3. Stir in the oil, one tbsp at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, and (with a sieve) gradually stir it into the creamed mixture (large bowl).
  5. Break up the chocolate bars into small(ish) chunks, fold the chunks into the mixture.
  6. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto a greased baking tray/mold the mixture into cookie shapes and place them onto the tray
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated over.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then put them on a wire rack to cool

Vegan chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookies

My boyfriend made me some cookies the other day and they were tasty, but something wasn’t quite right about them. They were a little too thick, a little bit too hard and they definitely needed some chocolate chips. So I made a few changes to an already pretty good recipe and it produce some very yummy results!

Ingredients:

200g/7oz vegan margarine
200g/7oz sugar
2/3 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
250g/9oz plain flour
1 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
200g/7oz vegan chocolate (if you get chocolate bars, the big bits of chocolate are much nicer than little bags of vegan chocolate chips, but they work too)

Method:

  1. Preheat over to 180
  2. Grease/line a baking tray
  3. In a big bowl add the butter and sugar, and then beat them until they are light and fluffy.
  4. Add the oil and vanilla essence and mix them all together well.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl (using a sieve) and use a wooden spoon to mix them all together well.
  6. Chop the chocolate up into small pieces then stir them into the mix.
  7. Pour the mix onto the baking trays with a large spoon. Remember to leave plenty of space between scoops.
  8. Put them in the oven for 15 minutes (until they go golden brown, and the centres are still slightly soft to the touch).

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Vegan Yorkshire Puddings

Yorkshire puddings

So I know this is not a dessert, which is what I usually post about, but I really love Yorkshire puddings and these ones turned out very well for a first attempt at vegan ones. Perfect addition to your Sunday lunch.

Ingredients:

90g/3oz vegan margarine
115g/4oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
280ml/10 fl oz pint soya milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method:

  1. . Preheat the oven to 220°C
  2.  Put 1 tsp margarine in each compartment on a bun tray with 12 compartments. Put the tray near the top of the oven with a baking tray underneath to catch drips.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt thoroughly in a bowl.
  4. Mix the oil in with the milk in a jug. Do not add to the bowl yet.
  5. Once it is ready to go in the oven (after approx. 10 minutes when the oven and butter is hot) add half of the liquid to the dry mix. Mix it into a smooth batter (paste) then add the remaining liquid. It should be like cream, if it’s too thick add more liquid.
  6. Transfer the batter to a jug, take the tray out of the oven and fill each compartment to the top. It should sizzle as it goes in. Do this as quickly as possible before the heat gets out.
  7. Cook for 15-20 mins.

yorkshire puds cooking

Vegan carrot cake

Thanks to ‘B-moviestar.com’ for the wonderful picture

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 225g/8oz carrots
  • 280g/10oz flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 170g/6oz sugar
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 200g/7oz vegan margarine
  • 200ml/7 fl oz orange juice
  • 1tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

For the icing

  • 115g/4oz vegan margarine
  • 170g/6oz icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C
  2. Mix the sugar and margarine together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Grate the Carrots and add to the mix.
  4. Add the Orange juice and zest to the mix
  5. Sift the flour, salt, spices, baking powder and vanilla into the mix and stir well.
  6. Spread out in the baking tin (be sure to use a loaf tin) and place in the oven for 20 minutes until nice and brown on the top and cooked in the middle (check by poking the middle of the cake with a knife).
  7. Once cooled make the vanilla icing by stirring together all the ingredients.

Vegan blueberry pancakes

Blueberry pancakes

The blueberries in this recipe are optional as the pancakes also taste really good without them too. The banana serves as an egg replacement, but the pancakes do not taste like bananas.

Ingredients:

  • 130g/4.5oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 handfuls of blueberries (optional)
  • pinch salt
  • 240 ml/8 fl oz soya milk (or any non dairy milk)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp vegan margarine
  • Icing sugar (optional to serve)

Method:

  1. Mash the banana with a fork and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and mix with a spoon.
  3. Add the soya milk, banana and vanilla extract and mix well with a spoon/whisk.
  4. If it is too dry add a little more milk.The batter should be pourable but not too runny.
  5. Add the blueberries (if using) and mix them in well with a spoon.
  6. On a medium heat melt the margarine in a frying pan and then add to the pancake mix.
  7. When bubbles appear on top it is ready to flip over.
  8. Cook for a minute or two on the other side.
  9. Serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar

Vegan Brownies

 

 

BrowniesThese fudgy, chewy, chocolatey delicious brownies taste better when they have been left to stand over night. This is because the icing forms a glaze, but if you can’t wait that long to try them, they’re still very good fresh out of the oven!

Serves: 16

Ready in 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the brownies

  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 350g/12oz demerara sugar
  • 65g/2oz plain cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300ml/10.5 fl oz water
  • 200ml/7 fl oz vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 100g/3.5oz sugar
  • 60g/2oz vegan margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons soy milk
  • 30g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method

For the brownies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a baking tin.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. After 15/20 minutes make the icing (you need to judge when you do this quite well as you can’t make the icing to early or it will solidify and you won’t be able to put it on the brownie).

For the icing:

  1. In a small saucepan bring the sugar, margarine, soy milk and cocoa powder to a boil, stirring frequently.
  2. Simmer for 2 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and stir an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Drizzle on the brownie (do this as quickly as possible, the icing will be liquid so be prepared for it to run)