Vegan Mofo: Dinosaur Cake

I cannot believe it! The final day of Vegan Mofo 2014 is already here! I still cannot believe I managed to stick with this for the entire month. It’s been an awesome experience and I finally have some enthusiasm for blogging again but enough going on! I want to present you with my Mofo finale, which comes from this awesome novelty cake book.

I got this book off my Partner, his grandmother used to let him flick through this book as a child and pick out what birthday cake he wanted. Really sweet, right? I figured this was a special enough occasion for me to pick my own cakes. There was a dinosaur, so I went with that obviously.

Dinosaur Cake

  • 2 x vanilla sponge cakes
  • 1 batch of green buttercream
  • 1 pack of vegan mint thins
  • a few toothpicks 
  • chocolate beans/skittles
  • chocolate buttons
  1. Cut one of the cakes in half and cut both halves in a wave like shape to form the legs and stomach.
  2. Cut a third from the other cake. Cut a curved 1 inch wide strip, 3 inches long from the outside edge of the cake for the neck and head. From the large piece of cake, cut out a curved shape to form the chest, reserving the small piece for the tail.
  3. Sandwich the 3 cakes together with butter icing with the chest piece in the middle, place the tail in position.
  4. Attach the head to the body with toothpicks.
  5. Coat the cake in the buttercream, arrange the mint thins along the spine to look like spikes, use the chocolate beans/skittles for eyes and place chocolate buttons for spots.
Are you as confused by these instructions as I was? Maybe then you can understand why my dinosaur didn’t exactly look like the one in the book.
I’m not gonna lie, I was a little bit upset that my dinosaur didn’t come out looking fantastic. It was really hard to make that stupid head stick on. I think part of the problem is that vegan cakes are deliciously moist, which doesn’t make it very easy do craft them into dinosaur shapes with tiny heads. It was also super sad that I used writing icing to make the skittles look like eyes and it just dripped down so it looked like my dinosaur was crying!
So sad. Ah well, I’m still pretty impressed I made a novelty cake.
And with this I bid my fucked up Bizarre and Outdated Cookbooks theme goodbye. There have been some great laughs, surprises, sadness and urges to throw up, but I’m glad I kept going. I found some great recipes along the way and learnt a few valuable lessons on how not to cook certain things. I’ve also enjoyed making some new friends, discovering new blogs, bookmarking LOADS of recipes and generally just loving the Mofo vibe. It’s been great! I can’t wait for next year!

Vegan Mofo: Chicken and Grape Curry

As well as Mofo being a big event throughout September, The Great British Bake off is also pretty big this month in the UK. I’ve already done one of Mary Berry’s recipes at the beginning of the month, but I decided to return to this cookbook and try out another.

Testing my boundaries in the fruit/savoury department, I set myself the challenge of veganising the Chicken and Grape Curry. Bleurgh.
Mild Chicken Curry with Cream and Grapes
This has been a favourite of mine for years, and is perfect for a summer dinner party being light and mildly curry flavoured

Well, I’d hope it’s going to be mildly curry flavoured Mary, being a curry and all that.
  • 1 pack vegan chick’n pieces
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 300ml water
  • 300ml apple juice or cider*
  • 100g grapes
  • 25g soya butter
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 25g flour
  • 150ml vegan cream
  • salt and pepper
  1. Put the onions and chicken pieces in a pan with the bay leaf, salt and peppercorns. Pour over the water and apple juice, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes
  2. While this is cooking, slice the grapes in half.
  3. Melt the soya butter in a pan and stir in the curry powder, cook for a few minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Add to the chicken mixture and stir until it begins to thicken. Add the grapes and cook through for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the cream and heat through before serving
Serves 4

Despite burning the chicken when I was simmering it, this tasted pretty good. It dźidn’t taste that burnt and I didn’t find the grapes offensive so as far as I’m concerned, it’s a winner
* The original recipe calls for cider but I don’t drink alcohol. Instead I replaced it with some fancy Carey’s Apple Juice and I think it did the job.

Vegan Mofo: Caturday and Sour Cream Apple Pie

Welcome to the final Caturday of Vegan Mofo 2014. I wanted to make this a really lovely post with more stories of Aidah but after a visit to the vet this week and some bad news, it’s been stressful and upsetting and I’m finding it too hard to write about.Without going into details, she is going to be okay.

I have made something from a cat related book that has already appeared in Mofo, the Garfield Cookbook. When I saw a recipe for a Sour Cream Apple Pie I just couldn’t say no.

Sour Cream Apple Pie
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 cups cooking apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tub tofutti sour cream
  • 1/4 cup soya yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
for the topping:
  • 1/4 cup soya butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 220C and put the pie crust into your pie dish. Top with the chopped apples
  2. In a large bowl mix together the sugar, flour, salt, sour cream, yogurt and vanilla. Pour over the apple mixture. Pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 180C and continue to bake for a further 30 minutes.
  3. While it’s baking mix the topping ingredients together.
  4. Remove the pie from the oven, cover with the topping and bake for a final 10 minutes until golden.
Ahhh this was amazing. It was like apple pie but the sour cream and crumble topping made it even better. I want to make this again and again. I’m sure if Aidah ate desserts she’d approve.
I’ll finish off with a photo of Aidah, happy caturday

Vegan Mofo: Bacon and Apricot Casserole

I started Mofo with one of my favourite outdated cookbooks, Cooking with Colmans where I recreated the Ham and Mustard Moulds. I had to come back to this book, especially as those Ham and Mustard Moulds have been one of my most popular posts throughout Mofo.

There was a lot to choose from in this book. Who knew you could add mustard to so many things? I decided to choose a recipe that would push my boundaries a bit (because clearly I’ve not been doing enough of that recently…) so it may seem fairly ‘normal’ to some of you, but to me was a challenge. I went for the Bacon and Apricot Casserole. I hate fruit in savoury things. Honestly the worst thing you can put in front of me is couscous with raisins in it. Jesus, why would you do that? But anyway, let’s give those apricots a chance, eh?

Bacon and Apricot Casserole
A tasty filling, winter or summer casserole
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Fry’s slicing sausage, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • sprinkling of mixed herbs
  • 100g dried apricots, sliced.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and sausage for about 5 minutes until browned.
  3. Stir in the flour and stock, stirring until thickened.
  4. Add the mustard, mixed herbs and apricots. Transfer to a casserole dish and cook for 30-45 minutes
Serves 4

Maybe my experiences of casserole are different to everyone elses, but is there such thing as a summer casserole? I associate casseroles with cold nights, rain pattering on our windows and me feeling really smug as I spoon my warm, comforting casserole into my gob. Am I right?
That aside, I was pleasantly surprised by this dish. I cannot believe I tolerated the apricots in this, it was strangely sweet but it was tasty too. Also I love that the mustard didn’t ruin this like it did with the moulds! Thanks Colman’s!

Speaking of challenging myself, I had to stop myself from trying to jump through my computer screen when I saw these Cloud 9 Pancakes over at Vegan Heritage Press and these uhhmazing Meatballs with Gravy by Tofu Mom

Vegan Mofo: Popcorn Mice

I picked up a few outdated novelty cake recipe books during my Mofo research. I love these, they’re some of my favourites. They don’t include fancy piping or fondant work but the recipes use different ingredients in an imaginative way to create impressive masterpieces. In some ways I think this is more impressive than the decorating skills most commonly used today which is why I felt a bit intimidated by these books. I can pipe buttercream on cupcakes and it looks great but that’s all I know.

I thought I’d get started on Sainsbury’s Novelty Cakes and other Novelty Food. There were some terrifying cakes in this book. I didn’t feel up to making a gingerbread house or to build a jack-in-a-box out of sponge. I did see something cute and simple that I was eager to try though

Popcorn Mice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g popping corn
  • 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp rice syrup/golden syrup (I originally used Sweet Freedom but don’t think it was thick enough, more on that later)
  • 50g marzipan
  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the corn, cover and cook gently until the corn has stopped popping. Put aside in a bowl.
  2. Mix together the coconut and sesame seeds
  3. Place the syrup in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the head and add the popcorn and half of the coconut mixture
  4. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and press firmly into a body shape with a pointed head, then toss in the remaining coconut mixture. Repeat to make 15 mice.
  5. Press out 30 ears, mould 30 eyes, 15 tails and 15 noses. Press in position.
Makes 15 mice

It all sounds so easy doesn’t it? I don’t know if the sweet freedom fruit syrup I originally used was too thin but damn, that popcorn was just not sticking in place. It was so infuriating. If I was doing this with a child (as is clearly intended) I would have set my entire kitchen on fire. In the end I put some of the mixture in the fridge to chill it down and then squeezed loads of rice syrup over the rest and then desperately tried to make them stick together.
I made 4 and gave up. I moved on to the marzipan ears, noses, eyes and tails. This was so tedious. So boring! At this point my back was starting to ache, I was stressed and fed up. The effort was not worth it.
I finished the four mice though and put the rest of the mixture in a bowl to eat later. The mixture tasted awesome, like proper toffee popcorn. Something I’ve not really had since going vegan. I’ll probably make the mix again but there’s no way I’m crafting mice out of it!

 Awww….they are quite cute though….

Check out these yummy looking Savoury Grits from Vegan Gourmet Caravan and these Pumpkin Waffles with Rum Butter over at Easy Vegan. They both look so good and are bookmarked in my recipes folder ready for post Mofo cooking!

Vegan Mofo: Bran Bolognese

I just need to jump straight in here and show you today’s find. Sometimes there are no words.

Fifty ways to enjoy the original high fibre cereal…More like fifty ways to encourage healthy bowel movement or fifty ways to make sure you take a shit. Nice. I’m sure you can imagine just how excited I was to get stuck in here. You don’t need to know about my bowel movements but let me just say, I’m pretty regular.

There were so many delights in this book. Who knew you could force bran upon yourself in so many gruesome ways? Bran Cheese Straws anyone? Bran pizza base? Or what about Bran Bolognese..?

Go on then

Bran Bolognese
  •  oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 50g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 50g all bran
  • 1/2 pint stock
  • salt and pepper
  • spaghetti
  1. Heat the oil and fry the onion, mushrooms, pepper and garlic for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, stock, bran and seasonings. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes
  2. Cook the spaghetti and serve with the bolognese
Serves 3…weird number of servings here. What’s that about?

Slightly concerned about how brown and shiny this meal looks…
So, how was my high fibre dinner? Well, it was edible and I didn’t want to vomit. The bran did melt into the sauce though and you could definitely tell it was in there, not as enjoyable as a nice bit of tvp. I usually like to have a lot more veg in my bolognese but clearly Kelloggs are really wanting to push bran and encouraging a balanced diet wouldn’t help that, so I can see why the veg in this recipe is minimal!
Did it make me need to go? I’M NOT TELLING YOU THAT!
I actually have a funny story about this book. I mentioned to a colleague in work that I was making a bran bolognese and he asked if it was from a Kelloggs cookbook. I was gobsmacked that he knew about this book, we both work in a kitchen and he’s a skilled cook…why would he know about this?! Turns out he used to work for Kelloggs, so owns a lot of their cookbooks and had to make use of them to get through all the freebies he ended up with! A brave man indeed. He did assure me some of the recipes were nice, but I daren’t experiment any further.

While I was eating my bran, I came across some tasty food from other Mofo bloggers. This Avocado Plum Salad from Danielle Joy and House Vegan’s Brown Sugar and Bacon Oatmeal were two that just made me automatically drool. 

Vegan Mofo: Sos-Stuffing Roly Poly

After my previous success with the Faux Chick’n Spread from Old English Cookery, I decided to revisit it. Whilst flicking through the book I came across a recipe for a Bacon Roly Poly. Ah, pastry, my worst enemy…or is it? My game pie came out pretty good, perhaps it was time for me to crack out the veggie suet and try a different kind of pastry. I had been considering doing a dessert Roly Poly, as it I used to love them as a kid and it would be nice to veganise a classic. It was hard to choose but I decided to go with a modified Bacon Roly Poly because let’s me honest, it’s weirder than a jam sponge.

Sos-Stuffing Roly Poly
  • 340g self raising flour 
  • 140g veggie suet
  • pinch salt
  • 1 packet sosmix
  • 1 packet stuffing
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • soya milk to brush

  1. Heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Prepare the sosmix and stuffing in separate bowls.
  3. To make the pastry mix the flour, suet and salt. Add a little water and knead until a dough is formed. I don’t know how much water to use. Apparently in the old days people magically learnt how to make suet pastry as soon as they left the womb, because there were no instructions on how much water to use and I didn’t think to measure any. Sorry!
  4. Roll the pastry out and layer the ingredients on top. I started with sosmix, then onions and mushrooms and crumbled the stuffing on top.
  5. Carefully roll the pastry up nice and tight, shaping the pastry into a nice neat log. Pop it onto a baking tray. Brush soya milk on the outside of the roll and bake for 30 minutes.
Serves 8

I’m really surprised the pastry came out so well, that I rolled it without it falling apart and that it baked perfectly and came out a beautiful golden colour. I love how easy this was. The original recipe suggested boiling the roll for 2.5 hours but I cannot afford to have my gas hob running that long and dammit, I was hungry, so I recommend baking.
This tasted so fricking great. The outside was a nice crispy, flaky pastry but the inside of the roll was soft like a dumpling. Amazing! I picked an apple onion and sage stuffing which worked great with the sosmix and I loved the little bites of sweet apple coming through. It was rad.
I love stodgy food and this was just perfect, served with mushy peas, mash and onion gravy it was a perfect dinner. Definitely something I’ll consider making for my next epic roast or for Christmas. Delicious! The only change I’d make is that next time I’d roll it tighter so I get a nicer swirl on the inside of it.

Other Mofoers are still going strong! You have to check out this Deep Dish Mac n Cheese Pizza from Easy Vegan and Walks Talks and Eats has made these yummy looking Spicy Bean Burgers! Go go go!