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Simply Vegan Archives - C-A-L-F

Vegan Footwear & Accessories

Monday, July 18th, 2016 at 6:23 PM by Claire D Simply Vegan

When we first go vegan, most of us focus on eliminating anything of animal origin from our diets. That is normally our first priority, and is a very worthwhile one as statistics show that simply by not eating animals, a person can save around 100 animals per year.

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But then gradually it dawns us that our shoes, belts, handbags and wallets were once someone’s skin – and then our attention turns to replacing them with cruelty-free items, made from materials that weren’t ripped from the body of an animal who wanted to live.

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There are lots of vegan stores out there that sell good quality vegan shoes, boots and accessories, such as:

Vegetarian Shoes

Ethical Superstore.com

Wills Vegan Shoes

Beyond Skin

Many supermarkets and high street stores offer a good range of faux leather footwear and accessories, including Marks and Spencer, BHS, Matalan, H & M, Peacocks and Primark. These are just a few examples and it’s always worth checking labels in any shop as anything made from real leather will have the ‘real leather’ symbol, so are easy to spot and avoid.

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I get most of my footwear online at websites like Amazon or ebay, simply by doing a search for faux-leather, non-leather or synthetic.

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I’ve focused on faux-leather items in this blog, but other good materials to look out for are Canvas, Hemp, Cordura, Cotton, etc…

For further reading, check out the PETA approved vegan page. Happy shopping!

 

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Tempting Tofu (part one)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 at 8:59 AM by Claire D Simply Vegan

Tofu is a wonder food. It’s a good source of protein, calcium, iron and minerals, saying it’s versatile is an understatement. For full details of it’s health benefits, see this page from the BBC website: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-tofu

A really simple, but impressive, tasty dish you can make with firm tofu, is quiche. I use Cauldron – the brand that is readily available in the chilled section of most supermarkets.

This recipe is adapted from the Animal Aid booklet ‘guide to going veggie or vegan’ which contains some really good recipes. To order it, visit here: http://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1825&ea.campaign.id=33176&ea.tracking.id=web

Tofu Quiche

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Ingredients
1 pack of ready made shortcrust pastry
Or if making own pastry, 255g plain flour and 130g of dairy free margarine

1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, remove seeds and pith and chop finely
1 medium courgette or broccoli head (or any veg of your choice) chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 red or green chillies, finely chopped (optional, depending on whether you like a bit of heat!)
Smoked sausages/rashers/veggie ham/choritzo etc… chopped (optional, depending on taste)
4-5 small tomatoes, sliced to top the quiche with
Paprika to garnish
250g firm tofu
Unsweetened soya milk
½ pack vegan cheese, grated (i use mozzarella or edam cheezly)

Method
Preheat oven to 200c/375F/gas mark 5
Grease a quiche dish approx 25x30cm

Pastry
If not using ready made pastry, make pastry by rubbing the margarine into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add enough water to make a firm but non sticky dough. Roll out on a floured surface, and line the greased quiche dish with the pastry.

Filling
Fry the onions lightly for a few minutes.
Add the rest of the vegetables and fry until they begin to soften, take off heat and set aside.
In a separate frying pan, brown the sausage/rashers/ham etc then mix in with the cooked vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

Break up the tofu into a blender with the cheese, and unsweetened soya milk and blend until it forms a paste.

Add this mixture to the cooked vegetables and fake meat, and mix well.
Place into the quiche dish and top with sliced tomatoes, and a sprinkling of paprika, and bake for 45-50 mins or until nicely browned on top.
Allow to cool and set before serving. It goes really well with some small roasted potatoes and some dressed rocket.

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Another recipe using firm tofu is cheesecake. The following recipe is for baked lemon cheesecake, and can also be found in the above mentioned Animal Aid booklet, however, I prefer to top my cheesecake with a fresh blueberry sauce rather than the kiwi fruit and jelly in the recipe. Either way, this cheesecake is one of the finest deserts I’ve tasted, and is always guaranteed to please!

Baked Lemon Cheesecake (serves 6-8)

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Ingredients

Base
75g dairy free margarine
340g vegan digestive biscuits (M & S, Sainsburys, and Tesco basics are all vegan)

Cheesecake mixture
3 lemons – zest and juice
430g firm tofu
95ml soya milk
95ml sunflower oil
95g soft brown sugar
1tbsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 160c / 325F / gas mark 3
Grease a loose bottomed, deep 8 inch cake tin with vegan margarine

Cheesecake
Crush biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.
Melt the margarine in a saucepan, pour in the biscuit crumbs and mix well.
Press the biscuit mix firmly into the cake tin.
Finely grate the lemon rinds and put into a blender along with the squeezed lemon juice.
Add all the other mixture ingredients, and blend together until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Pour into the blended mixture onto the base, smooth down the top, and place in the oven for one hour, or until the top turns golden brown.

Blueberry sauce
250g blueberries
3tbsp caster sugar
1tsp cornflour
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and gently heat until the blueberries burst.
Gently stir, so that all the sugar and cornflour are mixed in.
Allow to cool.

Place sauce on cooled cheesecake and chill thoroughly or alternatively pour over the cheesecake just before serving.
(Blueberry sauce recipe is from The Vegan Cake Book)

 

 

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Valentine’s Day – Heavenly Chocolate Recipes

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 at 10:44 PM by Claire D Simply Vegan

Valentine’s Day… a day for lovers…. or maybe that should be chocolate lovers!

With the range of beautiful dairy free chocolates growing all the time, it’s never been easier to find that perfect Valentine’s day gift. The Independent has put together this list of seven of the best diary free chocolates: http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/aindybest/food-drink/valentine-s-day-2016-chocolates-best-boxes-bags-dairy-free-vegan-lactose-a6850631.html

But if you fancy making a tiny bit more effort for that special person in your life, try one of these luxurious desserts:

Vegan Chocolate Mousse. This recipe is from the Parsley Soup Website, but as I didn’t have any Kahlua, I used Tia Maria, and it worked beautifully, making a rich, dense, luxurious mousse. I topped it with grated chocolate and a swirl of dairy free cream http://www.parsleysoup.co.uk/getrecipe.php?section=desserts&recipe=chocolate_mousse

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Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Souffle.  I’ve never made souffle before – vegan or non-vegan, but I was delighted with how these turned out, and served warm, with a scoop of dairy free vanilla ice cream, it made a heavenly dessert. Here’s the recipe I used: http://www.yaronhadad.com/vegan-chocolate+-souffle/

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Vegan Chocolate Souffle fresh from the oven

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Vegan Chocolate Souffle with a scoop of Swedish Glace

Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake For the full recipe, please see my previous  National Chocolate Cake Day blog post (January 2016), Here’s one I baked for Valentine’s Day:

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Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake, topped with rich chocolate ganache

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Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake

 

Happy Vegan Valentine’s Day everyone! In my next blog post, I’ll show you how to achieve the perfect vegan sponge cake.

 

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Pancake day!

Saturday, February 6th, 2016 at 9:53 PM by Claire D Simply Vegan

With Shrove Tuesday almost upon us, there is no better time to share this super quick, super easy and incredibly delicious recipe for vegan pancakes, brought to us by our friends at vtopia.tv.

I like to make them small and stack them tall. Here’s some I made earlier:

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Vegan pancakes with maple syrup, blueberries and strawberries

You’ll be amazed at how quick and simple they are. Here’s the easy to follow demo from vtopia.tv:

Don’t forget to pop back for my Valentine’s day blog, for some delicious chocolate recipes and Valentine’s day gift ideas.

Happy vegan pancake day!

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National Chocolate Cake Day!

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 at 11:31 AM by Claire D Simply Vegan

Today is National Chocolate Cake Day! And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to share a couple of my favourite vegan chocolate cake recipes. They are different textures, but equally delicious – and both easy to make.

This is one of the nicest chocolate cakes I’ve ever made, and the recipe is from the Post Punk Kitchen website: http://www.theppk.com/2008/08/just-chocolate-cake/

It’s moist and light, and never fails to impress! To make a two layer cake, simply double the quantity of each Ingredient from the recipe, and sandwich together with a simple chocolate buttercream.

For added burst of flavour and sweetness, add a layer of morello cherry jam.

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Double chocolate layer cake

it’s topped with a rich chocolate ganache, which is included in the recipe link. This recipe can also be made into cupcakes, and the variations are endless:

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Chocolate caramel cupcake

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Mocha cupcakes

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Chocolate vanilla cupcakes with grated chocolate sprinkles

For an altogether different chocolate cake experience, try this indulgent chocolate fudge cake. This recipe is one i adapted from the Uncaged website, many years ago:

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Ingredients

4oz (125g) soya margarine

half pint (300ml) soya milk

2 tbsp of golden syrup

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

8oz (250g) plain flour

2oz (50g) cocoa

8oz (250g) golden caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp chocolate extract

Method

1) Grease and line the bottom of an 8″ round baking tin.

2). Melt margarine, syrup and soya milk, except 4 tablespoons, in a saucepan.

3) Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in remaining soya milk.

4) Sieve all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.

5) Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.

6) Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for half hour. Reduce to 160C/300F/Gas 3 for 3/4-1 hour.

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Chocolate fudge cake

This is how the cake will look when it is baked. I normally slice some of the top off to give it a nice, even surface, ready for icing.

Icing

2 oz (55g) vegan margarine

4 oz (115g) icing sugar, sieved

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1oz plain chocolate

Make the icing by mashing the icing sugar into the margarine and vanilla essence. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, and pour into the margarine/icing sugar and mix well.

Once the cake is cool, cover the top with icing, and decorate with dark chocolate sprinkles or grated chocolate, and serve..

If you have any questions about chocolate cake… or would like any advice about vegan baking, please feel free to post them in the comments box below and I’ll do my best to help.

If you like these recipes, be sure to pop back for a special valentine’s day blog, for (chocolate) lovers everywhere!

Happy (vegan) chocolate cake day everyone!

 

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Going vegan….a few sites to get you started !

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 at 8:44 PM by Morgan weeks Simply Vegan

579372_434945546515465_1085764163_nLooking to replace your meat and dairy ? EASY !

For great gourmet food such as cheeses and various meat alternatives …
Vegusto.co.uk/

For milk and cream alternatives :
Alpro.com/

For vegan items from supermarkets : ( most supermarkets now have a list on thier website , however these two are the most commonly used . )

Aldi
Guidance for Vegans 15.10.2015.pdf

Tesco
Vegan Header September 2015.pdf

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Black bean cous cous salad : vegan luxury at its easiest!

Monday, November 2nd, 2015 at 2:38 PM by Morgan weeks Simply Vegan

Black bean cous cous

Serves 4 small or two main

Ingredients image
3 cooked beetroot ,chopped
1 can drained black eye beans
1 large carrot ,grated
1 small yellow pepper ,1 orange sweet pepper
1tbsp mix of paprika ,turmeric and garlic
3tsp mustard
2tbsp vegan Mayo
Fresh coriander leaves
100g cous cous
2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes

Method
In a small amount of oil , cook the peppers , beetroot ,beans and carrot on a low heat . Adding spices and garlic once starting to heat up .
In separate bowl , mix mustard ,Mayo and nutritional yeast flakes thoroughly ,once mixed ,stir into cooking veg and beans .

While that simmers , cook cous cous and drain ,once done add to mix and stir thoroughly .

Leave until nice and warm and veg softened , take off heat and stir in fresh coriander leaves before serving .

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Eating Vegan on a Busy Schedule

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 at 10:55 PM by Lucy Buxton Simply Vegan

Hi! So this post is pretty self-explanatory from the title – I wanted to write about how to find quick and easy vegan snacks/meals when you’re pushed for time.

I’ve just started a new job recently so I’ve been super busy. I’ve found myself looking for meal and snack ideas for when I get back in the evening with no energy. I’m going to jot a few ideas down here & hopefully it might be useful to some of you out there.

First up… pitta bread! So, it may be a slightly lazy option (but, hey isn’t that exactly what we’re looking for here?!) but pitta bread is extremely versatile and can form the basis of a tasty lunch or dinner. I like to roast some tomatoes, courgette, pepper and onion, and chuck it into a warm pitta. The whole process doesn’t take more than half an hour, and you’re free to do something else while the veg is roasting away. What’s more, you can take any leftovers for lunch the next day and simply heat them up in the microwave.

Jacket potatoes are also a winner in my book. Again, this does depend on you having the time to wait for them to cook in the oven but you can use the time you’re waiting as productively (or unproductively) as you’d like! You can get creative when it comes to fillings, or you can just pop in a dollop of hummus or beans. Takes no more than five minutes of actual prep and tastes delicious!

The last thing I’m mentioning today is another lazy one, but never seems to get old. Although most Pot Noodles aren’t vegan, the beef and tomato flavour is. Aaaand it’s really yummy. I know it’s not particularly healthy and I wouldn’t recommend stuffing your face with it 24/7, however it does the trick in a pinch. Vegetable soup is another great one which tends to be vegan, but it is always worth double checking as they can vary a little from brand to brand.

On that note, I’m going to go and make some food! 😉

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New to Veganism? Welcome!

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 at 6:53 PM by CALF (Sharon) Simply Vegan

Let’s be honest, it can be really hard being new to veganism. I became a vegan just over a year ago and I’ve not forgotten how overwhelmed I was at first. I wanted to share a few tips I have picked up during this past year – if they help you, feel free to use them!

Shopping can seem like an impossible task when you realise how many food items actually contain animal products. However you might be surprised to learn that there are a lot of vegan snacks available in the supermarket already! PETA do a great list of really common food items which are also vegan. http://www.peta.org.uk/blog/44-accidentally-vegan-snack-foods/ A few of the highlights are chocolate bourbon biscuits, Oreos and pink wafers – no need to worry about finding a biscuit to have with your brew then! 🙂

oreo cupcakes

Another thing which really helped me when I first switched my diet over was not obsessing over E numbers and other additives. As I mentioned, shopping can be really confusing at first and an ingredients list can seem like a minefield. My advice is to cut yourself some slack and start by avoiding the obvious animal products such as milk or cheese. The rest will come in time as you learn more and become a more experienced vegan.

Don’t forget that each and every step you take towards veganism is a really positive one and should be celebrated.

Things like leather and suede present another issue. Some people want to dispose of all these items and buy new furniture and clothes, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Similarly there’s also nothing wrong with using them until they are worn out and then buying vegan replacements. No one is made of money and being a vegan doesn’t make you magically rich (unfortunately!), so ignore others and make the best decision for you.

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That brings me onto my next point… when I first became a vegan, I was an unfortunate honorary member of ‘the vegan police’. Yes, I was one of the people frowning at the guy walking along eating KFC and tutting loudly as I looked through my non-vegan friends’ fridges. Let me tell you, this did not make me any friends and it nearly lost me some. People don’t like to feel judged, whether you’re grumbling over their food, religion, or anything else you might disagree on.

I’ve always been a huge believer in ‘live and let live’ and letting people make their own choices. However when it comes to killing other beings, it’s not as if our choices affect no one but ourselves. I understand this and it’s something I still struggle with. But I’ve learned to hold my tongue… and you’d be surprised how many people actually start listening when you’re speaking your truth quietly and clearly.

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My last suggestion is just to have fun! As vegans, we are aware of the heartache and suffering behind the meat and dairy industries. That’s a heavy burden to carry on your shoulders, so my advice is simply to smile. Try to look for little positives wherever you can, and don’t ever forget to appreciate just how far you’ve come in your own journey.

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Vegan Omelette Recipe

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 4:11 PM by CALF (Sharon) Simply Vegan

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Vegan Chickpea Omelette …Gluten free

This is on the menu at calf but today i decided to have one for tea at home….OMG i forgot how lovely they were
so i thought i would share the recipe with you

Ingredients
Chickpea Flour (gram flour) 1/3 of a cup
A pinch of salt and Pepper
A Sprinkle of nutritional yeast ( this is optional i had none at home but it tasted just as nice, plus a great way to get B12 if you by the yeast with B12 in )
A teaspoon of baking powder ( if wanting Gluten free then make sure your baking powder if GF
Add a little water and use a fork to whisk it to a smooth paste, runny enough to pour but not to watery…Do this quickly as the baking powder begins to work and creates the fluffy bubbles

Now fry up the filling you want, i used tomatoes, mushrooms and a bit of vegan sausage ……Tip the filling into the mixture then pour onto a hot omelete pan ( i recently bought a very thin flat pan and it works a treat as it gets hot very quickly….

Brown on one side then carefully flip over to brown the other side …..

This is so versatile and many different fillings can be used

Enjoy X

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