This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vegetable and Lentil Stew with Herb Dumplings

We are off to Denmark next week to spend Christmas with a friend and his family. But before we leave I thought I'd post this yummy winter stew.

My picture does not do this dish the justice it deserves. It's a really delicious, filling dish that's great for cold winter nights. It's based on the recipe for Mushroom Stew with Herb Dumplings in vegan.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and and I'll see you all in the New Year!

Vegetable and Lentil Stew with Herb Dumplings

1 potato, chopped
25 g shiitake mushrooms, halved
125g oyster mushrooms, sliced
600ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
200ml of water
125g puy lentils (dried)*
1 red onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
125g frozen peas
1 red pepper/capsicum, deseeded and chopped
125g cabbage, chopped
2 heaped tsp cornflour
2 tsp vegan bouillon powder**
2 tsp cocoa
1 tablespoon of molasses***
1 tsp vegemite****
2 tbsp tomato sauce
125ml sherry


1 3/4 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp vegan bouillon powder**
1 tsp chopped sage
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp chopped parsley
3 tbsp oil
1/2 cup soya milk

Place the potato, shiitake mushrooms and lentils into large saucepan with stock and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Mix all dumpling ingredients together in bowl. Make 12 balls (this is easier to do between 2 spoons or with 1 spoon and a hand. Two hands get rather sticky).

Add remaining vegetables to stew.

Mix the remaining stew ingredients into a small bowl. Then gradually add this to the stew. Stir constantly until stew thickens.

Sit dumplings on the stew and replace lid. Simmer for another 20 minutes until dumplings are cooked.

* We can never get dried puy lentils so use the canned ones. If you use the canned ones then don't put them in until the end just before you put the dumplings in. Alternatively, you can use red lentils or green lentils (the green ones will need pre-soaking, though, and may take longer to cook).
** If you can't get this, don't worry too much. We actually use this as the vegetable stock so just add a bit extra to make this. You could use dried vegie stock.
*** I use golden syrup instead of molasses. It's not really the same but it does the trick. 
****  Or whatever yeast extract you use.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


This recipe is super easy (as long as you have a blender/food processor), doesn't actually involve any cooking, uses up stale bread and tastes surprisingly delicious! It is based on a recipe I saw on River Cottage during their vegetarian season (on Channel4 for all you UK people). I made it much simpler by not caring about skinning and deseeding the tomatoes. If you want to do this I would suggest visiting the River Cottage website to see how Hugh does it. I also make my own croutons. He cheats.


3 thick slices stale white bread (around 100g), crusts removed*
200ml cold water
1 garlic clove, crushed
1.5 kg large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 red capsicum/pepper, deseeded and chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil for soup + 1 tbsp olive oil for toasting croutons
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
shredded basil or chopped flat-leaf parsley

Take 2 of the bread slices and tear into pieces. Put the bread into a bowl with the crushed garlic and water. Leave to soak for 10 minutes.

Put the soaked bread and garlic, tomatoes, half the cucumber, red pepper, onion, olive oil, vinegar and sugar in a food processor (it should just fit). Process to a coarse purée and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for 2–3 hours, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

Cut the final slice of bread into small squares. Brush the front and back with the oil and grill for a couple of minutes on each side to make croutons.

Serve the gazpacho topped with the croutons, shredded basil/parsley and the other half of the cucumber, chopped.

*I kept the crusts on for one of them (for my croutons) because they gave extra crunch.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cinnamon Scrolls and Donuts (Doughnuts)

Yes, I make my cinnamon scrolls and donuts with the same recipe. Topologically and semantically I might get away with it: the donuts are torus shaped and made from dough. However, I'm not sure Homer Simpson would have given my donuts the stamp of approval.

I love cookies and cake and muffins and all the really fatty, sugary stuff. It's really easy to eat something someone else made and not realise exactly how much fat and sugar goes into the product (and thus it's easy not to feel guilty about it). However, when you are physically mixing the batter and are measuring exactly how much oil and/or sugar you are using, you might not end up enjoying your lovely baked good in quite the same guiltless way.

This does not mean that the following donuts are healthy; everything in moderation. (Although, these donuts really need to be consumed on the day of baking (next day at the latest) so you might need to share in order to avoid eating them all yourself.) But these donuts are a lot healthier than your tradional donut from Krispy Kreme.

This dough recipe is based on the recipe for the dough for the Cinnamon Rolls in The Joy of Vegan Baking. In fact, my cinnamon scroll recipe is closely based around that recipe. I guess American cinnamon rolls are like Australian cinnamon scrolls and British Chelsea buns.

The dough you make will need 1-2 hours to rise so keep that in mind if you are pushed for time. You wil also need an electric stand mixer. If you don't have one you can do it just fine by hand but it'll be some work!

Also, don't be put off with the length of the recipe. It might look complicated at first glance but it is actually really simple once you have read through the instructions. And the results are well worth it!

Dough (for cinnamon scrolls and donuts)

(Dough needs 1-2 hours to rise so keep that in mind.)

4 1/2 tsp egg replacer (5 tsp ground flaxseed)
6 tbsp water
5 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp (7g sachet) active dry yeast
1 cup soya milk
1/3 cup vegan butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk egg replacer/flaxseed together with water until thick and creamy.

Using your electric mixer with the normal paddle/mixing attachment mix 2 1/4 cups of the flour with the yeast. 

In a small saucepan heat the milk, butter, sugar and salt until butter is almost melted. Stir constantly. Pour into flour mixture in electric mixer and mix on low speed. Add the egg replacer mixer and turn to high/beat for 3 minutes.

Switch attachments to the hook-looking one. Put the mixer on low and mix in remaining flour gradually for 3-5 minutes until you have a moderately soft, smooth and elastic dough. You might end up with 1/2 a cup of flour left over. If you don't need it, don't use it. Your dough should be tacky but not sticky to touch.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in greased bowl. Let it rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place or until the dough has doubled in size. 

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover with a clean tea towel and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then roll it out.

Cinnamon Scrolls

advanced prep required: scrolls needs about 1 hour to rise (this is in addition to the 1-2 hours above)

soya milk for brushing


3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1/2 raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or other)


1 cup icing/confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp soya milk

Prepare your dough as above.

Mix all the filling ingredients together.

Roll the dough into a 30cm square (12-inches for those of you still living in my grandma's era).

Spread the filling out over the dough. Do this evenly.

Roll the dough into a log (so that you can see the spirals at the ends). Pinch at the end to seal.

Slice the log into 8 equal slices (you should havd little flat cylinders with sprials of yummy filling showing). Place the slices on a greased tray or baking paper.* Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes-1 hour in a warm place until they double in size (keep this in mind when placing).

Preheat the oven to 190C (375F) and (uncover and) brush the scrolls with the soya milk. Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

To make icing combine all the icing ingredients in a bowl. After the scrolls have cooled for 5 minutes drizzle the icing over them. Serve warm. Best eaten day of baking (or next day at the latest).

*You can actually do all of this the day before and then put them in the fridge and carry on with the instructions from here.

(Healthier) Donuts

Prepare your dough as above.

Cut out donut shapes. I do this by using a wide glass for the outside circle and a small, sample-size jam jar for the inner circle. I'm sure you can also buy donut cutters or you could do it free-hand. You should end up with a bunch of donuts and holes. Keep both.

Place the donuts + holes on a greased or baking paper lined tray. Cover with cling wrap/film and let rise for 45min-1 hour. Donuts and holes should double in size.

Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Uncover the donuts and brush with soya milk. Baked for 10-15 minutes until the bottoms start to turn golden brown.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

If you want to ice your donuts then let them cool completely and ice with whatever your favourite glaze is (the icing for the scrolls will do with a bit of cocoa if you like chocolate). If you want the traditional cinnamon donut then let them cool a little (a few minutes will do) then give them a quick spray with oil and roll them in a cinnamon-sugar mix (1 tsp cinnamon to 1/2 cup sugar).

Best eaten day of baking (or next day at the latest).