Gur Cake

Gur Cake is a traditional Dublin cake, popular in working class communities. The cake was made from bakery leftovers, so it was always the cheapest item in the shop. It’s a thick slab of spiced, fruity bread pudding sandwiched between two thin layers of shortcrust pastry.
Ingredients

For the pastry:

250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cornflour (corn starch)
1 heaped tbsp suitable-for-vegans icing sugar
pinch salt
60g suitable-for-vegans baking margarine
Cold water

For the filling:
8 slices stale bread, crusts cut off (I used wholegrain)
Very strong tea, cold
35g melted suitable-for-vegans baking margarine
3 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Rind 1 orange
150g mixed dried fruit
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp mixed spice
1 tbsp molasses
90g suitable-for-vegans brown sugar
3 tbsp apple sauce

Directions:
1. Make the pastry by mixing all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the vegan baking margarine and rub in between your fingers and thumbs until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Add 2-3 tbsp cold water (more if necessary) until the mixture comes together in a firm dough. Don’t overwork. Wrap in film and place in the fridge to rest while you make the filling.
2. Steep the bread and fruit in in a single layer in just enough tea to cover (you could use a large roasting tin). Leave for an hour or so.
3. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Preheat the oven to 190C. When the bread and fruit are soaked, strain off the tea and give the bread a quick squeeze just to remove the excess liquid so that it is no longer dripping wet. Add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir. The mixture should be the consistency of a thick cake batter. If it’s too dry, add a squeeze of orange juice; if it’s too wet, add a little more flour.
5. Remove the pastry from the fridge and divide in two. Line a 9 inch square baking dish with parchment. Roll the first half of the pastry thin and place it at the bottom of the baking dish (don’t line the sides of the tin; just the bottom). Flash bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and place the filling on top. Roll out the rest of the pastry and place it on top of the filling. Prick the pastry in several places with a fork.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin: the filling will set only when cold. Then remove from the tin and cut into squares.
7. Dust the squares with sifted icing sugar, or go for a more rustic feel and just sprinkle it on by hand.

Breakfast Muffins

A perfect grab-and-go breakfast that’s oil-free, lower in sugar than other muffins, and great to make in advance, keeping up to three days in a sealed container. This recipe makes 12 muffins and a small loaf or cake, or 18 muffins. They are not incredibly sweet, so if you like sweet muffins, add an extra 0.25 cups suitable-for-vegans sugar.

Ingredients
1 apple, grated (leave the skin on for its nutritional benefits)
1 carrot, grated
1 banana, mashed
1.25 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup oat bran
8 dates, finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1.25 cups soy milk
0.25 cups maple syrup
1 cup blueberries

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a muffin with silicone muffin cases. If making a small loaf or cake in addition, set a silicone loaf or cake dish on a baking tray, or spray a metal dish with a light mist of suitable-for-vegans spray oil.
2. Mix all ingredients.
3. Layer into the tins.
4. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin.

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

It’s sure to be a good morning with this Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, served here with a generous dollop of coconut whip to give you that dessert-for-breakfast flavour and to start your day on a sweet note. Serves 4.

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp suitable-for-vegans brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch salt
2 tbsp chopped pecans, optional; extra for serving
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups soy milk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. Mix all ingredients together. Add to a shallow baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the centre is set.

Banana-Pecan Cake

What do you do when your bananas are starting to brown? Make Banana and Pecan Cake, of course. This one is oil-free, relatively lower in sugar than other banana cakes or breads, and yet the flavour and texture don’t suffer as a result.

Ingredients:

2 overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (also called bicarbonate of soda or bread soda)
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch cloves
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup pecans (1/4 cup chopped; the rest left whole)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease or line an 8″ loose-bottomed cake tin.
2. Add all of the ingredients apart from the pecans to a large bowl in the order listed above. Mix well. Stir in the chopped pecans.
3. Transfer the mix to the baking tin and top with the pecan halves.
4. Bake at 10 minutes for 200C. Reduce the heat to 180C and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until the cake is cooked and a knife inserted comes out clean.
5. Because ovens can vary, if your cake is over-browning on the top, cover it with foil.

Sweet Potato Pizza with Barbecue Tempeh and Bean Béchamel

With a soft and dense base, this isn’t like traditional pizza dough, but it’s filling, satisfying, full of flavour, and probably too nice to share. But if you insist on sharing, this will serve 2.

Ingredients

For the Base

700g sweet potato, peeled, cooked, and cooled until tender
100g rolled oats
100g coarse wholemeal flour (or flour of your choice)
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

For the Béchamel

1 cup white beans (I used butter beans)
11/2 cup soy milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp yellow miso
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the Tempeh

150g tempeh, steamed for 15 minutes, and chopped small
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste)
1 tbsp maple syrup

To assemble

Steamed kale, as desired

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 9″ dish with silicone or parchment (I used a loose-bottomed flan tin for easy removal).
2. In a food processor, blend the sweet potato. Add the oats, flour, flaxseeds, garlic powder, and salt until potatoes are smooth and all ingredients are well combined.
3. Place the potato mixture into the prepared dish and smooth out. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the top starts to turn golden.
4. Meanwhile, make the béchamel by blending all the ingredients.
5. Mix the barbecue sauce, water, soy sauce, and maple syrup in a shallow dish. Add the tempeh and toss.
6. When the potato is ready, invert onto a baking tray and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes more until what is now the top is lightly golden.
7. Remove from the oven, spread with béchamel, add kale, top with tempeh, and bake for 10 minutes more. Cut and serve.

Hot Cross Buns

These spiced buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, and they are best served halved with some suitable-for-vegan spread. The majority of their sweetness comes from the dried fruit. Makes 12.

Ingredients

For the buns

250g strong white flour
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp suitable-for-vegans sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
zest 1 lemon
zest 1 lime
250ml plant milk, warmed slightly
60g mild-flavoured oil (I used rice bran oil)
2 tbsp whole flaxseeds, ground and mixed with 3 tbsp water
200g mixed dried fruit of your choice (I used 75g mixed peel; 75g raisins; 50g dried cranberries)
For the crosses
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp cold water
For the sugar glaze
20g suitable-for-vegans sugar
20ml water

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix the flours, salt, spices, and sugar.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast and rinds, and then mix in the plant milk, flaxseed mixture, and oil.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well, about 5 minutes (alternatively, you can use a stand mixer). Knead in the dried fruit. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to stand for an hour until risen.
4. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, and roll each into a ball. Place on a baking tray lined with a silicone sheet. Cover again with a cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes more.
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C.
6. When the buns are nearly done rising, prepare the mixture for the crosses by mixing together the 3tbsp flour and cold water. Transfer to a piping bag. Once the buns have risen, pipe a cross on each one.
7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
8. While the buns are baking, mix the ingredients for the sugar glaze in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. When the buns have finished baking, brush them with the sugar glaze, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. It’s highly recommended to eat one while they’re still warm.

Naan (with a Peshwari Naan Option)

This is a beautifully soft and airy naan, perfect for serving with soups, curries, and so on. The secrets to its fluffiness are the strong white bread flour and frying it in a lidded pan. Although this recipe calls for white spelt flour, you can substitute that with plain wheat flour if desired, but adjust the liquid quantities accordingly. This recipe makes 8 side-plate-sized naan, so feel free to scale the recipe down if desired.

Ingredients for the Plain Naan

250g white spelt flour
250g strong white bread flour
2 tsp quick-acting yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup soy yoghurt
250ml warm soy milk
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp salt
Additional salt, smoked paprika, garlic granules, and nutritional yeast for frying
Suitable-for-vegans spray oil

Directions for the Plain Naan

1. Mix the flours. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast, maple syrup, soy yoghurt, soy milk. Combine. Sprinkle over the baking powder, garlic, granules and salt and begin to knead in the bowl. Transfer to a floured surface and knead well for about 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, dust with flour, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place for about an hour to rise.
2. When ready to cook, heat a lidded frying pan over a medium heat and spray with some oil. Gather the dough into a ball, divide it into 8, and roll each piece out on a floured surface about 1/4 cm thick.
3. Spray the top of the rolled-out piece of dough with spray oil, and sprinkle with a little paprika, garlic, salt, and nutritional yeast. Place carefully into the frying pan, cover, and cook for a couple of minutes until the top bubbles and the bottom is browned; flip, and cook again until the bubbles start to blacken.

Ingredients for the Peshwari Naan

250g white spelt flour
250g strong white bread flour
2 tsp quick-acting yeast
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup soy (or other all-plant) yoghurt
250ml warm soy (or other all-plant) milk
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp salt
Suitable-for-vegan spray oil

For the Filling

100g unsalted pistachios, shelled
100g ground almonds
Pinch salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1/4 cup soy (or other all-plant) yogurt
30g raisins, sultanas, or dates

To serve:
Toasted, flaked almonds for sprinkling

Directions for Peshwari Naan
1. Mix the flours. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast, maple syrup, soy yoghurt, soy milk. Combine. Sprinkle over the baking powder, garlic, granules and salt and begin to knead in the bowl. Transfer to a floured surface and knead well for about 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, dust with flour, cover with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place for about an hour to rise.
2. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a food processor, mix everything together until you have a thick paste.
3. When the dough is doubled in size, knock it back and divide it into 8 pieces.
4. Roll the filling into 8 balls. Take each piece of dough, roll it into a ball between your hands, and make an indent in it with your thumb. Push one of the balls of filling into it, and smooth the dough back over it.
5. When ready to cook, heat a lidded frying pan over a medium heat and spray with some oil. Flatten out each ball of dough with your palm, and start roll each ball into a teardrop shape about 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface.
6. Place carefully into the frying pan, cover, and cook for a couple of minutes until the top bubbles and the bottom is browned; flip, and cook again until the bubbles start to blacken.
7. Spray the bubbled side of the naan with a little spray oil, and top with some flaked almonds.

Speedy Chocolate Mug Cake

Rich, spongy, sticky: this chocolate mug cake is wholewheat and free from refined sugar. However, if you’re feeling decadent, you can serve it with some suitable-for-vegans chocolate sauce and/or peanut butter. Serves 1-2, depending on how much of a sweet tooth you have.

Ingredients

Suitable-for-vegan spray oil, for greasing the mug
1/2 small banana
70g dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water, then drained
4 tbsp wholewheat flour
1 tbsp fairtrade cocoa powder
3 tbsp plant milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp bread soda/bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp vinegar

1. Grease the mug with some spray oil, or a kitchen towel dipped in a little vegetable oil
2. Blend the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
3. Transfer to the mug, and microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes until cooked.

Easy Oaty-Coconut Cookies

A very simple cookie that’s perfect for those new to cooking. Not much can go wrong with these (apart from the inherent wrongness of the fact that you have to allow them to cool before tucking in!). Makes 26 cookies.

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup brown suitable-for-vegans sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan vegetable fat spread
3 tbsp golden syrup (if you want your biscuit chewier, use less)
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C).
2. Sift the flours into a mixing bowl, and add the oats, coconut, sugar and salt. Mix to combine.
3. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over a low heat. Turn off the heat, and add golden syrup, water and bicarbonate of soda.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well.
5. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, flatten between the palms of your hands, and place on a lined baking tray (I needed two), leaving some space in between each as the biscuits will spread slightly as they cook.
6. Bake for 15 minutes (if, like me, you had to use two trays, give them 8 minutes on their respective shelves and then swap them over).
7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes or until completely cool.

Banana-Blueberry-Walnut Muffins

Perfect for breakfast or a sweet snack, these muffins are oil-free and quite easy to make.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups oat flour (I ground down 1 cup oats in the blender)
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other all-plant milk of choice)
1/2 cup liquid sweetener (e.g. brown rice syrup, date syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a silicone muffin tin with paper or silicone cases.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, bran, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and mixed spice.
3. In another large bowl, mix the bananas, plant milk, sweetener, vanilla, and vinegar.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine.
5. Add the blueberries and the walnuts and fold in, being careful not to overmix.
6. Fill the muffin tins with the mixture, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.