My Special Fiery Chipotle Chilli Sauce

chipotle chilli sauce

Chilli sauce creeps up on you, doesn’t it? You start with a smidgen which blows your head off, then for some reason you go back for more. Before you know it, chilli sauce is a regular condiment on the dining table! Whilst you can buy any kind of chilli sauce you could imagine, it’s always good to have a recipe up your sleeve. Imagine one day there might be a great chilli sauce shortage, then what would you do?!

Besides this sauce (inspired by one from Deborah Maddison, one of my all time favourite veggie chefs) is unlike any I’ve come across, bags of chipotle flavour, loads of spice, but also tempered by an underlying tomatoey sweetness which makes it the perfect accompanying sauce. This one has crept up on us, it’s featuring with or on most things we eat! it’s wonderful on Mexican dishes of course, great with veggie sausages, fab in place of ketchup almost anywhere you would use it.

I pour some into a bottle and then freeze the rest in bottle-sized portions, ready for that awful day when the chilli sauce shortage begins!

My special Fiery Chipotle Chilli Sauce

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

fiery homemade chilli sauce

1 small tin of chipotles in adobo sauce
2 times of the same tin of water
4 tbsps tomato purée
1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsps soft brown sugar

  1. Whizz together all the ingredients in a blender until smooth
  2. Pour into a sterilised bottle and keep in the fridge, or freeze in bags.
    tomato chilli sauce, free-from

Chocolate lovers delight – triple chocolate chip cookies

dairy-free, egg-free triple chocolate chip cookies

I think chocolate chip cookies are my (and the rest of the family’s) all time favourite cookie; particularly ones which are crisp on the edges and chewy in the centre. This recipe gives you just that, delivering failsafe results every time, all with a three way hit of chocolate. Who could resist that?

These have probably been elevated to my all time favourite cookie recipe, they are so irresistibly more-ish that it’s really quite dangerous. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

triple chocolate chip cookies, dairy-free, nut-free

2/3 rd cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 rds cup sunflower oil, or other flavourless oil
1/4 cup oat milk
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup dairy-free choc chips
1/4 cup dairy-free white choc buttons, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 Degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 3. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  2. Whisk together the oil, oat milk, sugars, vanilla and cornflour. It will combine to form a smooth caramel.
  3. Sift in the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt. Mix well.
  4. Fold in the chopped chocolate and chocolate chips
  5. Roll into walnut sized balls, place slightly apart on the baking sheets and flatten a little.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes
  7. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack.vegan triple chocolate chip cookies

Cannellini bean and olive salad

white bean and olive salad, veganAs you might imagine we have a lot of beans being used in this household at the moment – I’ve got to get the chickpea/bean water from somewhere for all the meringue based recipes! This is a neat and tasty way of quickly turning a tin of white beans into a flavoursome and interesting salad. Use the best tomatoes you can for the perfect accompaniment for any lunch of choice.

If you can, soak the onions in cold water for a while before using – it takes that sharp edge off them that can otherwise wise be too overpowering.

Cannellini Bean and Olive Salad

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

white bean salad

serves 4 as a side

1 tin cannellini beans, or other white beans (drained, water used to make meringues! And rinsed)
1 large handful tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 white onion, finely sliced and placed in icy water for 20 minutes, then drained
1 handful mixed olives, halved
1 large handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsps olive oil
Salt and pepper
Extra squeeze to lemon before serving

  1. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, oil and seasoning. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  2. In a beautiful serving bowl, mix together the other ingredients. Pour over the dressing, mix gently and leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to mingle.

Mini cheddars, dairy free!

dairy-free mini cheddars

Savoury snacks which aren’t crisps can be hard to find on a restricted diet,  as so many are cheesy or nutty etc. And you can’t have crisps all the time. Mini cheddars are big (I should probably say popular as obviously they’re mini and not big!) in the UK and if you see people eating a savoury snack it’s most often crisps, nuts or mini cheddars – those bags of mini cheesy crackers are everywhere! They’re clearly out of the question for us (and looking at the pack that might be a good thing as they certainly aren’t in any way healthy) but my girls have often remarked that mini cheddars look tempting. Now that’s the kind of challenge I like!

So here is my dairy-free version of mini cheddars – cheerless cheddars if you like. They are pretty delicious, not as cheesy as the original but definitely with a cheesy savoury twang – perfect as a little salty nibble.

Mini cheddars – dairy-free!

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

egg-free, nut-free homemade mini cheddars

1 cup plus 1 tbsp plain flour

3 tbsps nutritional yeast

1 tsp English mustard powder

1/4-1/2 tsp salt

Large pinch of cayenne pepper

5 tbsp dairyfree margarine

2 tbsp cold water

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, yeast, spices and margarine. Add the water and continue to pulse until you have formed a soft but not sticky dough ( if it is sticky add a touch more flour)
  3. Roll out to 3 mm thick, stamp out small circles ( about 3 cm diameter) place onto a baking sheet and prick the centres with a fork to give the correct ‘ mini cheddar’ look making vegan mini cheddars
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown
  5. Cool on a wire rack

homemade dairy-free mini cheddars

The Ultimate Veggie Sausage Rolls and Tanners White Burgundy

vegan sausage rolls

Everyone loves a sausage roll it seems; people can’t keep their hands off those little flaky pastry encased beauties. My vegetarian version seems to go down even better, even to those carnivores. We love them so much that I seem to have to make huge batches of them with great regularity! They’re the ultimate little savoury, packed with oodles of umami flavour that I’ve never had anyone not ask for a second. They freeze beautifully, so they always feature in our picnics and parties, and are always the highlight of those busy nights when after school time is packed with activities and supper has to be a quick on-the-go grazing affair..

When the lovely people at Tanners wine merchants asked if I wanted to review some wine for them, giving me a choice of any bottle from their favourites, I leapt at the chance to do some wine pairing with food. The delicious 2014 white burgundy they sent me was produced especially for Tanners by Cave de Vire in Burgundy’s Maconnaise region. This superb, slightly buttery wine made from only Chardonnay grapes gave me plenty of thinking when it came to food pairing. I was initially considering of a tomatoey polenta based dish but d it was these little flaky, tangy veggie ‘sausage’ rolls which seemed to suit the fine greengage aromas, with hints of ripe melon and white currants. I’m not a wine expert but we thought the match was seemed perfect, and would be great on a picnic.

I was extremely impressed with Tanners – their website is packed full of knowledge and goodies and their customer service was second to none – I’d thoroughly recommend them for online wine purchases.

Tanners White Burgundy

Even if you don’t try the wine, try my veggie sausage roll recipe, it’s a winner.

The Ultimate Vegetarian Sausage Rolls 

(dairy-free, egg-free, soya-free, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan)

vegetarian sausage rolls, dairy-free, egg-free

Makes around 25

1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry

1-2 slices of wholemeal bread, made into crumbs

1 tin of pinto or borlotti beans, drained

1 small onion, very finely chopped

1 small apple, grated

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2-1 tbsp soy sauce (or marmite if avoiding soya)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

dairy-free milk, to brush

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade
  2. In a food processor blend the beans ( or mash with a potato masher). Add the breadcrumbs, onion, apple and flavourings. Taste and adjust flavours.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle. Cut into a 3-4 inch wide strip.
  4. Make a neat line of filling about one inch in from the edge of the pastry.
  5. Brush one side with oat milk. Roll over the pastry to form a ‘sausage’ connecting the dry pastry with the oat milk brushed side. Cut into 1 inch long saga rolls.
  6. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with water. Brush with dairy-free milk.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden.
  8. When cooked, cool on a wire rack. Eat or freeze.

the ultimate veggie sausage roll, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free

Blackberry and raspberry pie

blackberry and raspberry pie, dairy-free

Here’s the next instalment of my blackberry recipes and what could be a more autumnal combination that blackberries baked in a pie! I’ve always shied away from pies in the past, but in reality they’re super simple to make, just requiring a little time and patience, particularly if taking the easy option of using ready made pastry.

The combination of tart blackberries and mellow raspberries works really well, especially with the sugar topped pastry lid. Instead of rolling out a lid I made one from cut outs of heart shapes stuck together on top. The idea was the queen of hearts and one of her tarts but next time I’d use bigger hearts for a more obvious result.

Best enjoyed slightly warmed with dairy free custard or ice cream.

Blackberry and Raspberry Pie

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan blackberry pie

1 1/2 cups blackberries

1 cup raspberries

small handful of blackcurrants [optional]

1 tbsp cornflour

2 tbsps icing sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 pack (250g) shortcrust pastry

Dairy-free milk for brushing

1 tbsp caster sugar for sprinkling on the top

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
  2. Line a pie tin with pastry, fill with baking beans and blind bake for 20 minutes until golden and cooked through
  3. Meanwhile, combine the berries, cornflour, sugar and lemon juice. Tip into the baked pie base, then top with pastry shapes, or just a lid. Brush with dairy free milk and sprinkle over sugar.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes at until golden on top. Cool until just above room temperature before serving.

berry pie, egg-free


egg-free, dairy-free madeleine

Its been a long journey to create a Madeleine recipe that actually works, that’s actually just like the real thing. Madeleines, if you don’t know, are iconic little shell shaped cakes immortalised by Marcel Proust in ‘A la recherché du temps Perdu’ and are held close to every French persons heart. This is how Marcel Proust describes them with reference to involuntary memories;

No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. … Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? … And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea. — Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Definitely an experience worth recreating!

So how to recreate such an iconic classic – it was hard to get the right taste and texture without the essential ingredients of milk, butter and eggs, and many of my initial attempts looked good but simply didn’t have the right texture. This recipe on the other hand is spot on – the addition of aquafaba has lifted the fluffiness and and the sponge has the correct density. It is essential to have the correct madeleine pan, otherwise you’ll have to make mini cakes instead!

chocolate dipped dairy-free egg-free madeleines


(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan madeleines

3 tbsp aquafaba

100g caster sugar

100 g plain flour

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 tbsp dairy free milk

3/4 tsp baking powder

75g dairy free margarine, melted

1 tsp syrup (or honey if you are not vegan)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Grease and flour the Madeleine mould and place in the fridge to firm up.
  2. Whisk together the aquafaba and sugar until slightly foamy, then whisk in the lemon juice and dairy free milk
  3. Sift in the flour and baking powder and again whisk in.
  4. Then with the whisk running, gently pour in the melted margarine and syrup/honey and whisk until you have a gorgeously shiny, silky dough
  5. Transfer to a piping bag and if possible, place in the fridge for a while to cool.making vegan madeleines
  6. Pipe into the moulds so they are filled level with the top
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and risen. To get the correct domed tops, briefly open the door of the oven after 3-4 minutes, then continue cooking.
  8. Cool in the tins before transferring to a cooling rack.
  9. Serve dusted with icing sugar or dipped in melted chocolate

dairy-free madeleines

Blackberry and Banana Loaf Cake

dairy-free, egg-free banana and blackberry loaf

I think it’s going to be a bumper blackberry year – the bushes are already bowing down with the little back gems. I managed a fine harvest from just over the garden wall – goodness knows how many I could have got if I’d gone further afield! So you should be warned – blackberry recipes are a coming!

This is maybe an unusual combination, you would normally expect apple with blackberry, rather than banana, but it works really well. The blackberries add a delicate blackberry fragrance along with their pretty jewel pops of colour and the mellow sweetness of banana combines to form a winning combination. This loaf cake is the perfect start to autumn, a nod of the produce to come, whilst still being sunny and summery with its banana flavours.

Blackberry and Banana Loaf Cake

dairy-free blackberry cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

1 cup self-raising flour

1/2 cup caster sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 large banana, mashed or processed to a purée

2 large handfuls of blackberries

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp sugar, for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/Gas mark 4. Line a loaf tin.
  2. Mix together the mashed or puréed banana, oil, water, vanilla and lemon and set aside
  3. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. Stir in the blackberries and make sure they are coated in the flour – this should prevent them from dropping to the bottom of the cake
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix until well combined
  5. Pour into the lined loaf tin. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

vegan blackberry and banana cake

Strawberry and Rose tart 

dairy-free strawberry tart

We were off to a friend’s house for a lovely lazy BBQ Sunday and having reminded them of our considerable dietary requirements, I felt that I really needed to make an effort to bring something nice to make up for all the extra effort they were going to. I sometimes forget, because we’re so used to all our varying dietary requirements, that it’s a bit of a minefield for others – if you’re not used to checking ingredients and thinking about traces its all a bit mind boggling! Anyway, our friends were delightful and happy to cater for us all, even me, the difficult vegetarian! I made a firm favourite, Devils food cake for pudding as everyone loves it, but then felt that maybe it wasn’t fresh and summery enough for a sunny BBQ! In fact I spent the whole night thinking it was the wrong choice and maybe I should make something else – I just didn’t know what, and certainly didn’t want to go shopping early on a Sunday morning!

So it was a case of get up, rummage in the fridge and larder and then get my thinking hat on! I had some frozen puff pastry and apples but apple tart wasn’t quite seasonal enough! Then I spied my bowl of slightly overripe strawberries – perfect; a fine strawberry tart was going to be ideal.

In fact I’d recommend this kind of tart for any impromptu get together – so simple to make but also pretty enough to impress! It would work with most fruit and is simply fruit, thinly sliced and layered over puff pastry, sprinkled with a fine layer of sugar and then baked. Once out of the ven, a coating of nappage (warmed, thinned jam) gives the perfect glossy finish. I chose some gorgeous rose petal jam form Confiserie Florian in Provence but apricot or strawberry would also work well.

Strawberry and Rose Tart

vegan strawberry and rose puff pastry tart

(dairy-free, egg-free,nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

Serves 6

1/2 sheet puff pastry [ensure it doesn’t contain butter!]

100g strawberries, finely sliced

1-2 tsps caster sugar

2 tbsp rose jam

  1. Roll out the pastry to a large square or rectangle. Lightly score around the edge to give a ‘frame of pastry’ which will rise up.
  2. Layer on the sliced strawberries and sprinkle with caster sugar
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 190 degrees centigrade/gas mark 5 until the pastry is golden around the edges.
  4. Cool and then brush over warmed, thinned [add a few drops of water] jam.

pretty rose tart, freefrom