Yesterday evening, I attended a vegan communal meal type thing, as a way of meeting new people in this diverse and interesting city. I found it on Meetup, and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s new to a place or looking for new friends – I went for a drink afterwards and made some new friends, which was great! Conveniently enough, the meetup was in the building next door to work, so I can pop in for games nights etc on my way home in future – though it’s true I didn’t get to explore the city very much.
Anyway, I made two vegan dishes yesterday, because I spent most of my time in the kitchen. The first was just my lunch, the vegan bolognaise recipe I posted a few weeks back. But I did try the new VioLife Prosociano, i.e. vegan parmesan, and was pleasantly surprised. Since it’s normally grated so finely anyway, you won’t notice any texture change. The smell and flavour of parmesan is definitely there, but my only complaint is that the flavour sort of melts away when it’s mixed into a sauce. My solution to that would just be avoid stirring it through properly. It’s possibly the first vegan cheese I’ve liked, though, so will definitely be popping into Holland and Barrett to see what else is on offer.
Prosociano – solid 8/10
Okay, now for the piece de resistance. I’d never tried this recipe before, which I sort of made up as I went along, but it turned out well. I’ve veganified one of my old recipes, which used to work a treat, and I used aquafaba as an incredible egg substitute. I’ll be eating a lot more chickpeas in the future, I think…
Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
For the cake
- 4oz dairy free spread
- 4 oz golden caster sugar
- 6 tbsp aquafaba
- 2 tbsp soy milk
- 6oz self raising flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream
- 5oz dairy free spread
- 10oz icing sugar, sieved
- a couple of drops of vanilla extract (or strawberry, or lemon, or orange…)
- a couple of drops of food colouring (optional)
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 5-6 (or fan oven 180c ish)
- Cream the spread and the golden caster sugar together in a bowl until everything is thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl/jug, whip up the aquafaba and soy milk together to make it a bit bubbly. This isn’t something you have to do necessarily – all in one sponge probably works okay too – but it’s something I prefer doing.
- Mix this together with the butter and sugar. If the mix curdles, don’t worry, you’re not a competitor on bake off – adding the flour next will resolve this issue. If you’re really fussy, you can add the aquafaba mix bit by bit, but doesn’t really matter.
- Add the flour in two additions until the cake mix is a good consistency – not too runny, comes out in big dollops that occasionally have to be scraped off the spoon. Then, add some vanilla extract.
- At this point, you can add rainbow sprinkles/hundreds and thousands/raisins to make the mix a bit more exciting but you don’t have to.
- Spoon into 12 cupcake cases and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes, making sure to turn them around halfway through. The tops should be golden brown, but don’t worry if they look a bit anaemic, the lack of egg makes them do this.
- Let your cakes cool down completely before icing them. This gives you enough time to make the buttercream, which is easy enough – just mix together your spread and your icing sugar. As a general rule, you should use twice the amount of icing sugar to the amount of butter, so you can adjust your recipe accordingly.
- If the mix is starting to look a bit powdery/dry, add your vanilla extract and/or food colouring – chances are, that’ll sort you out. If it’s still too dry, add a tiny bit of soy milk, but not too much as the buttercream should be able to hold its shape if piped! NEVER let your buttercream be runny. Put this in the fridge until you’re ready to ice the cakes.
- When the cakes are cool, you can put the mix in a piping bag and make them look super pretty. Or, you could just do what I did, and smear it around with a spoon until it looks neat. Then I dragged a fork around it to make ridges, and topped them with hundreds and thousands. I think edible glitter would look really cute, though!
I don’t actually have a piping bag with me, but I know I could make them look like roses, if I really wanted to (I swear)!
So I took these along to the vegan meetup, and they went down a storm. Also at the meetup were these bad boys – I’m in love with the vegan cheesecake, which was made with tofu! I forgot to grab the recipe but I think I’ll get it on Wednesday, so I’ll give that a go and post the results on here.
A lovely end to my first week of work.
For anyone that’s invested enough to read to the end of this blog, my first week of work went really well! I’m enjoying the job so far and everybody seems really nice. Bristol is a great city, too. There’s so much to do here and I really love the vibe of the place. But, that said, I do really miss my cat. I’ve got a portrait of her hanging above my mirror. I realise I look like a completely crazy cat lady, though, and I’ve managed to befriend the cat that lives next door. My room is beautiful and decorated up to the nines with cat decor – grumpy cat pillows, books, crochet dolls, even a hand drawn artwork by Gemma! To top all that off, my bedding is “catstronauts” i.e. cats in space with oxygen helmets on. I love it, it’s so me…
I plan to keep on experimenting with vegan recipes. So far, I’ve only got vegan ingredients in my cupboard, so it’ll be interesting to see what I come up with. Unfortunately I think I am known for two things at work – number one, being “cat shirt lady” as I have two fantastic cat shirts, and number two, being the “kitchen rat”. I’m always in the pantry heating up leftovers and nibbling from my lunchbox so it’s definitely a deserved epithet..
Ah well, I’ll embrace the kitchen rat lifestyle. Until next time folks 🙂