Tuesday, 14 December 2010

SF 'chicken', Biscuits & Gravy

This is a great recipe, although one I'd recommend you save for the weekend as it's quite time consuming. I've been making this for a few years now and is great with the sides I have suggested, but equally as good with cheezly beans, or used on burger rolls.

Firstly you'll need to make your gluten 'chicken'. I use the recipe for this from Sarah Kramer's 'Vegan a Go Go', but all the other steps are my own.


2 cups strong brown/ wheat flour
2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 cups water

Sift together the flours, then add the water to make a dough. Cover and leave to sit for 30 minutes.
Knead dough for 1 minute and return to bowl. Cover with water and squeeze together, this will make the water cloudy. Pour off the water and repeat this step between 10 and 12 times until water is clearer and dough feels elastic.

Cooking Liquid

Once I have made up my gluten I simmer it on a low heat for around 60 minutes in this recipe to give it flavour.

6 cups water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 sachet miso soup
1 tbsp vegan bullion
Pinch of rosemary, onion salt, celery seeds and sea salt

SF Seasoning

Once the gluten is cooked, drain and leave to cool. Then take two bowls, in the first you'll need 1/2 cup of non dairy milk and a few drops of tabasco or chili sauce. In the second you'll need 100gs plain flour, 1tsp of paprika and 1/2 tsp of chili powder. Stronger amounts of spice can be used if you like it that way.
First dip your gluten in the 'milk' and then coat in spice mix. Fry in a little oil until browned.


Lastly you'll want to make your biscuits. These are a traditional American food which are not often seen in the UK but I became fond of them during my many visits to stay with family in the US as a child. You can either have them plain, or roll the dough thinner and use two pieces for each and sandwich a slice of vegan melting cheese between before baking.
This makes enough for 2 people, it's fine to double the recipe.

115g plain flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsps margarine
60ml non dairy milk

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and combine. Rub in the margarine until it resembles bread crumbs. Then add the 'milk' to make a dough.
Roll out and cut with a cookie cutter. Using a greased tray bake at around 220 degrees C for around 10 minutes.

PS: I did take a photograph for this post, however I am officially no good at photographing my food.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Cafe Soya

This evening I visited Cafe Soya (the larger branch opp Birmingham Rag Market, not the smaller Arcadian one). Having looked on their website prior to visiting I was pretty sure that I would be able to have a nice vegan meal and that they understood what this meant - as I should point out that although they have a large vegetarian menu they also serve meat and fish.
Whilst they have a large vegetarian menu, many items are obviously not vegan but the staff were very helpful.
I ate rather a lot of food during my visit. I had a spring roll starter with a chili syrup dip, crispy fried tofu with oyster mushrooms & rice and a soya desert. I washed down my meal with a pot of Jasmine tea. The prices were very reasonable and my share of the meal came to around £15 (the mains are around £6 - £8 on average). The portion sizes of the mains were very big and if I visited again I wouldn't have a starter again unless shared.
The restaurant was pleasant enough and it was nice to see items such as soya milk and soya shakes available on a menu. In short it was a very enjoyable evening and I am definitely planning to return.

Cafe Soya, Unit 2, The Matrix, Upper Dean Street Birmingham. B5 4SL
Tel: 0121 622 3888

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Hello Kitty Sandwiches

It has been a long time, but I am back! A lot has changed in my life since I was last blogging - I've graduated from uni, am working and have met a wonderful guy; in short living the grown up life! I am however never going to fully grow up, and have been taking rather a lot of Hello Kitty sandwiches to work recently so thought I'd share them with you. Don't worry, I'll be back with some proper recipes soon :D

Friday, 20 August 2010

Charlie’s Cafe & Bar - Worcester

This week while in Worcester (20th August 2010) I visited two cafes that catered for vegans. The first was The Karmic Cafe (more on this one later) and the second was Charlie’s. While Charlie’s is not a Vegetarian cafe

and does serve meat to any customers that would wish, I was surprised by their vegan selection and understanding of what I could/ couldn’t eat. I have to admit I am sometimes a little weary of eating at non vegetarian restaurants and worry when I have been forced to about the vacant look in the eyes of the waiter/waitress when I mention the word vegan. I however wasn't worried about eating here at all, the lady who served us was really helpful and even offered to do something else if I didn't fancy any of the vegan options on the board. While I was there I had the main of mushroom tart with chips and salad and for desert a chocolate and peanut butter cupcake.

The service was quick, although we were the only customers at this time so couldn't comment on whether it's always that speedy!

It cost £7.95 for my main, which I suppose is about the average cost of a main meal in a lot of establishments of this level now.

My main was lovely and the cupcake was a real treat, if you ever find yourself in Worcester I would recommend a visit.


They can be found at -

57, Sidbury,




The Karmic Cafe - Worcester

I visited this cafe mid morning for breakfast (20th August 2010) and was pleased by their range of vegan options. I had the ‘breakfast sandwich’ (vegan sausage and garlic mushrooms) and a soy vanilla milkshake. They were both really very nice and the total bill came to around £6 which is very reasonable.

I liked the atmosphere of the little cafe and the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable pointing me in the right direction of several local health food shops where I could stock up on vegan supplies!



The Karmic Cafe
The Gallery
The Shambles

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Avoncroft 1940's Weekend

On the 19th June I went down to the Avoncroft Buildings Museum in Bromsgrove for their Wartime Weekend. I believe they hold this every year and it cost around £6.60 for each day.
The museum had many attractions arranged for the day including a 'Fashion on the Ration' show, military displays and talks, vintage cars, music, stalls and on the Sunday there were vintage bus rides I believe.

The highlight of my day was the music. First I saw a fabulous George Formby impersonator (Pool Casperooni on Facebook) and then the amazing Lola Lamour ( a 1940's style singer who has been featured in chanel 4's 'Time Warp Wives').

I also enjoyed looking round the stalls selling some great vintage goodies and seeing many 1940's enthusiasts there, it'll certainly be on my calender for next year!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Dig For Victory

During the Second World War the government had a campaign to get the country growing as much food as they could themselves to keep the country going.
At the beginning of the year I purchased 'Dig for Victory, Mr Middleton's All Year Round Gardening Guide from 1945'. As I now had a decent sized garden I wanted to make the most of it and grow whatever I could in the same spirit as those from the wartime era. Plus it's a very healthy way to live from both the exercise from gardening and all the fresh tasty vegetables you'll have as a result.
If you want to get in the act you can either use the flower beds in your garden, or if you don't have a garden you can apply to the council for an allotment or check out the landshare project.
I harvested my first beetroot today, although so far this season I've had lots of cos lettuce and tomatoes and what better to do with beetroot than pickle it? It was a common sight in households during the wartime era for families to be preparing homegrown crops of beetroots, tomatoes and onions to pickle so that they would last them through a long winter.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Oh So Vintage....

Today I ventured into Carisbrooke (Isle of Wight) to a shop I'd been wanting to visit earlier in the week. I went along on Tuesday but the shop is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, although I had a good look through the window. So if you are wanting to pop along make sure it's the right days!
It isn't a massive shop, although it's packed to the rafters with nice finds and is an overall very nice shop and Carisbrooke is a great setting for something like that.
The lady who runs the shop is very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable about her stock. The prices are also very reasonable, I brought a sun hat for £12 and some glasses (from 1962 complete with original sales slip and case) for £19.
There was a nice selection of clothing in a good range of sizes, a good men's selection and a cabinet full of brooches, jewelery and cuff-links. Next time I'm on the Island I'll totally be dropping by the shop!
You can check them out at 51 Carosbrooke High Street, Newport, PO30 1NR or www.oh-so-vintage.co.uk

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Vegan Flat Bread

This is a very basic and easy recipe, but I'm always making it so thought it was time to share it with you.
If you are not a baker don't let the thought of 'bread' put you off, there's no yeast or rising here! If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer or similar this is even easier. Just mix all the ingredients together, shape pieces of the dough into small flat breads and cook in a hot and dry non stick frying pan for a minute or so each side, and that's it! I sometimes add garlic or sun dried tomatoes to one side which cooking. These are similar to naan bread so goes great with all kinds of foods!

3 cups bread flour

1 cup of water

1 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Apple Upside Down Cake

At the moment I'm doing work experience at 'The Warehouse Vegetarian Cafe' (Allison St, Birmingham ) and I'm going to get to do some baking one of the days so wanted to come up with something special to make aside from my old favourites. So here it is a wonderful desert cake!

150g vegan margarine

125g caster sugar

4 Tbsps ground flax seeds

2 Tbsps groundnut oil

2 tsps almond essence

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

100g plain flour

75g wholemeal flour

50g ground cashews

2 tsps ground sunflower seeds

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp arrow root powder

3/4 cup of non dairy milk

I used my kitchenaid mixer to make this cake, but it's just as easy to make by hand. First place the sugar and margarine into the bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Next add the flax seed, essences, ground nuts and seeds and combine well. In a separate bowl add the milk and vinegar - whisk and set aside to curdle for a few minutes.
To the main bowl add the flour through a sifter and also the baking powder, salt and arrow root. Mix well, while mixing gradually add the milk/ vinegar mixture until it is all combined and set aside.

3 green apples

1 tbsp vanilla sugar ( or caster sugar if you don't have any to hand)

25g vegan margarine

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Chop apples into 1/8ths and place in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer carefully for around 5 minutes until slightly caramelised. Take a greased cake tin ( I use my favourite spring form bundt cake tin from Ikea ) and add apples and juice in the bottom. Then tip in the cake mixture and smooth out evenly around the tin.

Bake for around 45 to 50 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius - or until a knife comes out from the centre clean. Enjoy!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

1 cup rice milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsps egg replacer
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup groundnut oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 tsps almond extract

Mix rice milk, vinegar and extracts together in bowl. Whisk then leave for a few minutes. Then add oil and sugar.
Add all dry ingredients and mix well.
Place into paper or reusable cases and bake at 180 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
Decorate with whatever vegan goodies you have to hand.