Sophie and Mango have got into the pleasing habit of trying out vegan recipes together on a Wednesday evening. This is not exactly a recipe blog, but a catalogue of trial and error, showing our successful and less than successful cooking adventures.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Extremely belated Christmassy cake/snack pics

I've just about recovered sufficiently from the trauma of the festive season to post these rather belated photos of my culinary efforts during said time. No, ok, that's a poor excuse for just having not got round to it yet.

This is only a taster of the various goodies I produced to see myself through the holiday (my family having not really caught on to the concept of veganism - in consequence I spent many a troubled hour planning and preparing my Christmas goods, lest I be forced to survive on slices of stale bread for the week). A brave few deigned to sample them and were, I hope, pleasantly surprised.

On the right, sprinkled delicately with icing sugar, we have my own variation on the mince pie, mince pie cupcakes - for which I adapted Isa Chandra's excellent jam doughnut (well that's not quite how she's put it, but I just can't bring myself to use the phrase 'jelly donut') cupcakes. It's a fairly basic vanilla cupcakes, with - and here's the genius - a dollop of mincemeat placed on top of the batter before they go in the oven. Like some kind of gastronomic wizardry, the filling gently sinks into the cake and winds up somewhere in the middle. Incredible, but delicious.

On the left, an absolute marvel that was pulled together with the addition of lemony cream 'cheese' icing - gingerbread cupcakes, again Isa Chandra's recipe. I wasn't sure about these when I first made them (my complex scheme involved making the cakes ahead of time and freezing them til the night before), my un-iced test cake being somewhat...lacking. Fortunately the icing on the cakes was, well, the icing on the cake, and topped with a few raisins came together to form a not only visually delicious but really rather tasty creation.

These immaculately wrapped golden filo parcels are a take on the Greek snack spanakopita - I'd made the recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance (I do have some recipe books not written by Ms Moskowitz and Romero, honest!) before, but less successfully, and faced with a much leftover filo pastry, spinach, silken tofu and a rare glimpse of that precious metal, the pine nut, I knew there was only one way to go. Having totally winged it I thought they came out rather nicely. My folding technique has definitely improved if nothing else.

This last one has nothing to do with Christmas, except that they were made in December, but I thought they looked so cute I wanted to publish them anyway. This is the pumpkin and chocolate chip cupcake recipe from, you've guessed it, Ia Chandra's Vegan Cupcakes take over the World. I adapted it a little and used raisins instead of choc chips - the first time I did it according to the recipe and although nice, along the the pumpkin (I used a Kuri squash, actually) they were just a little bit cloying for my taste. Raisins added a little more bite and a fruity zing. Cinnamon icing and sliced fresh banana on top for the extra je ne sais quoi.

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