Vegetarian ‘Swedish Meatballs’ and mustard cream sauce – dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free

vegetarian "Swedish Meatballs' dairy-free egg-free

There’s something very appealing with the coming of Autumn and a turn from bright sunny Mediterranean flavours (generally my preference) to a more Scandinavian cosy vibe. To me, it suits darker evenings and jumper wearing temperatures.

I’ve tried many times to recreate the classic Swedish meatballs (aka ‘Ikea Meatballs’!), mustard cream sauce and mash but often just missed the mark. This version, on the other hand, is totally spot on. The ‘meatballs’ made of a mix of red lentils, mushrooms, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and have a great ‘bite’ to them as well as a wonderfully savoury umami flavour with hints of the deep dark forest. The texture, whilst clearly being nothing like a meatball made of meat has a toothsome feel and enough texture that they don’t just crumble into dust!

vegan swedish meatball mix

Dairyfree cream sauces can also be tricky to get right, they often have a slightly sweet flavour which is a little unnerving in a savoury context, also reduction sometimes doesn’t have the same effect as with dairy versions. But I have the answer, a simple veloute (like a bechamel but made with stock rather than milk) is made creamy by a good dose of the cream – resulting in a perfect silky texture and creamy taste with plenty of mustard umph.

We all really devoured this dish, although the girls were suspicious of the cream sauce – if you’ve been dairyfree for your entire life it’s not really surprising that you don’t ‘get’ creamy textures! I’m going to preserve though, this will definitely be one for the regular repertoire this winter.

Vegetarian Swedish ‘Meatballs’

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

baked vegetarian Swedish meatballs

makes about 15, serves 4-5

1 1/2 cups cooked red lentils

200g mushrooms, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tsp dried thyme or herbes de Provence

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

2 slices of bread, made into breadcrumbs

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (Henderson’s Relish is a great veggie alternative)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp English mustard powder

1 tbsp cornflour

  1. Gently fry the onion, mushrooms and garlic with the herbs and chilli flakes until soft, fragrant and starting to turn golden
  2. Place in a food processor (or simply mix together in a bowl for a chunkier texture) and add all the other ingredients. Pulse until well combined and fairly smooth.
  3. Using damp hands roll into even sized balls and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle with a little extra oil and then put in the fridge to firm up.
  4. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes

dairy-free egg-free mushroom and lentil Swedish meatballs

Meanwhile, make the garlic, mustard cream sauce:-

Mustard Cream Sauce

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

dairy-free mustard cream sauce, vegan

1 tbsp dairy-free margarine

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp flour

20 ml white wine

100ml vegetable stock

1 pack dairy-free cream (250ml)

1-2 tbsps Dijon mustard

  1. Melt the margarine, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant but not coloured
  2. Add the flour and cook out for a couple of minutes
  3. Over a medium heat stir in the wine and again cook out, stirring to make sure the sauce/paste is smooth
  4. Pour in the stock and stir to make a smooth sauce, next stir in the cream. Stir or whisk to ensure a smooth, silky sauce.
  5. Add mustard to taste

To serve:

Serve 3-5 ‘meatballs’ with creamy mash, greens of choice and the mustard cream sauce.

vegan swedish meatballs nut-free

Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream

Chocolate and salted caramel cupcakes, dairy-free, egg-free

Is there any more delicious and tempting combination than chocolate and salted caramel? The flecks of saltiness in sticky sweet caramel paired with irresistible chocolate is a match made in heaven.

I haven’t made any cupcakes for a while but they’re always so tempting, especially to the younger members of the family, so they’re the perfect vehicle for trying out flavour combinations. The base is a simple rich chocolate sponge. The buttercream is flavoured with salted caramel – for this you have three options – caramel essence and a pinch of salt, a caramel sauce and pinch of salt drizzled over the buttercream, or as I did using Sugar and Crumbs delicious naturally flavoured icing sugars. Which ever you choose, the end result with certainly be irresistible! I added a sprinkle of honeycomb pieces for added sweet crunch.

Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes

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

vegan salted caramel and chocolate cupcakes

makes 18

350g self-raising flour

200g caster sugar

50g cocoa powder

200ml sunflower oil

300ml dairy-free milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 5
  2. Mix together the dairy-free milk, lemon juice, vanilla and oil. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the bicarb to the wet ingredients and stir.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix to thoroughly combine.
  6. 2/3 rds fill the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

nut-free, dairy-free chocolate cupcakes, caramel icing

Salted Caramel Buttercream

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

enough to pipe onto 14-18 cupcakes

1/4 cup vegetable fat (such as Trex)

3/4 cup dairy-free margarine (such as Pure)

3 cups icing sugar, sifted (i used half Sugar and Crumbs Salted caramel flavour and half normal icing sugar)

1-2 tbsps dairy-free milk

(or if using essence, add 1-2tsp caramel essence and a pinch of salt)

  1. Whisk together the spread and vegetable fat.
  2. Add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time with a splash of the milk, until fully combined and nice and fluffy.
  3. Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes.
  4. Decorate with honeycomb pieces and cocoa powder if desired

salted caramel buttercream on chocolate cupcakes, vegan

Sticky Toffee Scones

sticky toffee scones, vegan

I do like scones, they’re such a delightful teatime snack. Not too sweet, light and fluffy, the perfect accompaniment to some tasty or interesting jam and a doddle to make as long as you’re light handed and respectful of the dough. I’ve made any varieties, with particular favourites being lemon drizzle and blueberry. I recently bought the fantastic 80 cakes by Claire Clark and its providing me with lots of inspiration. She features some ginger and molasses scones which for some reason got me thinking of combining the flavours of sticky toffee pudding and transporting them into a scone recipe. Sticky toffee scones! Now that sounds like a great idea.

In fact it turns out to be an awesome idea, why don’t people make sticky toffee scones all the time? The mellow sweetness of the whizzed up dates is perfect in the not so sweet scone template and who can resist a sticky, crunchy top?

Sticky Toffee Scones

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

sticky toffee scones, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free

makes 10-12

100ml dairyfree milk

25g dates

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

220g flour

50g caster sugar

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

75g dairy-free margarine

1 tbsp golden syrup

Extra dairyfree milk for brushing

2 tbsp Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade
  2. Simmer together half (50ml) of the milk with the dates until soft. Whizz up in a food processor/ blender to form a puree. Add the bicarbonate and set aside.
  3. Into a bowl sift the flour and baking powder, stir in the caster sugar.
  4. Rub in the margarine with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Pour in the date puree and the remaining 50 ml of dairy-free milk. Gently bring together to a soft sticky dough. Do not knead.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat out to about 5cm thick. Cut out circles and place on a floured baking tray.
  7. Brush with the extra milk and sprinkle with Demerara.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and risen.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.

sticky toffee scones, vegetarian and vegan

Afternoon Tea at The Langham Hotel, London

children's afternoon tea menu at The Langham Hotel

I’m always astounded by my girls that they have never made a fuss, never whined and whinged about having food allergies. They’ve always just taken the whole thing in their stride, but for the first time at the age of 12 Big S has voiced a complaint. We were on holiday and the children’s menu came with ice cream – clearly a no go, but the nice waiter claimed there was a dairy-free sorbet. Having searched extensively in France for a safe sorbet and never having found one, we were sceptical, and there was no possibility to check the label ourselves. Besides, we were on a lovely day out on a beautiful beach and had to factor in scoops with ice cream traces having been used in the sorbet tub (happened more than once before), so we erred on the side of caution and said no. For the first time she voiced how unfair it is. We felt awful, it’s such a little thing, but being able to eat an icy dessert on a hot day can make have a big impact on your enjoyment, especially if you’re young.

the Langham Hotel

Anyway, it gave me the push to make plans that I’ve been harbouring for a little while come true. We’re massive fans of the Great British Bake Off Creme de la Creme (you may not know but the wonderful Claire Clark taught me patisserie when I studied at Le Cordon Bleu) and I’d heard that Cherish Findan, one of the other judges, serves a vegan afternoon tea at The Langham Hotel in London. Maybe, just maybe, they’d be able to make a fancy 5* tea for us too?? So I contacted Cherish and the hospitality team at the Langham, and yes they’d be delighted to cater for us and give us a memorable afternoon. Wow, exciting! The sorbet incident was long forgotten, luxury tea here we come!
children's afternoon tea The Langham Hotel, dairy-free egg-free

The hospitality and bookings team were most helpful (no doubt they always are in such a luxurious hotel, sadly I’m not so familiar with such surroundings😦 … Yet!) I went through our multiple requirements many times and was reassured that we’d be admirably catered for. The only caveat was that nuts are used in the kitchen. How could they not be in a kitchen serving fine patisserie? So they couldn’t guaranteed no traces of nuts. Little S is ok with most nuts; peanuts and sesame are our problems, so we took the decision that just this once for an ultimate treat we’d go with a nut warning. I also wanted the discussions over and done with in advance – the girls have to always put up with conversations with waiting staff who then to and fro to the kitchen, ferrying labels and often knocking choices off the limited menu as they go. Just for once, I wanted us to go to a restaurant and eat wonderful food with no fuss. We were also all going to have dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free versions so we could taste each other’s delights.

We booked it for the 1st September just before the shock of the start of Autumn and the return to school after a long, magical summer. Yes, you bet were we excited! We talked of the forthcoming treat daily, and planned what to wear, guessed what we might eat. Little S had high hopes of vegan macarons but I kind of knew that it wouldn’t be that experimental, there’s no reason for a usual pastry chef to have worked out the magic of aquafaba just yet!

So what was it like? It was totally magical. Expensive yes, but we felt like true VIPs for the afternoon, and that is priceless when you’re used to multiple long conversations with catering staff, limited choice on menus and indeed limited destinations to eat out.

vegan afternoon tea at The Langham

We entered through the marble lined entrance hall, waited on by top hatted doormen and the first impression was, wow, what is that divine smell? It wasn’t food or perfume, it was just a delightful aroma. If this is what top hotels are like, I’d love to visit more often! Of course you have to check the bathrooms in these places, no?  Gilded features, soft music, freshly laundered individual hand towels and beautifully scented soap and hand cream. Check!

Palm Court at The Langham

The actual dining room of Palm Court is stunning. The epitome of luxury, with stunning chandeliers, softly played piano, extremely comfortable squidgy chairs and wonderful Art Deco features. This was going to be special. The girls were having the Hamleys children’s tea so were greeted by wonderful cuddly complimentary teddy bears holding their menu.

We were first offered drinks. The girls had a choice of strawberry and kiwi tea, fruit juice or hot chocolate. They chose fruit juice with was refreshed at regular intervals in our two hour sitting. Now neither D nor I drink tea, but were persuaded to try the drink of choice. I sampled the Langham blend which was without doubt the nicest tea I have ever tasted – taken black it had a light, delicate and flavourful with none of the bitter tannins I associate with tea. I wonder if they sell this blend anywhere as I could develop a serious habit with this one. The waiting staff were attentive and discreet which is probably perfect as waiting staff go.

strawberry sorbet lolly dipped in sherbet, vegan

Then the food started to arrive – wow! The girls began with a strawberry sorbet lolly dipped in strawberry sorbet which was probably the most strawberry tasting thing we have ever eaten. The looks on their faces were priceless as they savoured every last morsel. This was far better than a sorbet on holiday. D and I were served vegetarian champagne jellies flecked with gold flakes. I don’t make this kind of thing at home!

vegetarian champagne jelly

Next up were the sandwiches – the girls’ were cut like interlocking jigsaw pieces and contained ham, smoked salmon, red pepper and cucumber. There was an uncomfortable moment when we were told the red pepper also contained hummus which is obviously a no-go due to sesame, but thankfully it was a slip of the tongue, hummus had been kept out of our sandwiches. The adult vegetarian range included sweet red pepper, guacamole, cucumber and tapenade. And they kept coming, we had to refuse the multiple rounds which kept on being offered after a while.

vegan sandwiches at The Langham

The girls then had their teddy bears picnic pastries – a vanilla carousel cake, a chocolate and raspberry cake, mango pate des fruits and a mango and pomegranate jelly all served with a rich chocolate drink and a bag of sweets. The highlights were certainly the cupcake and sweeties. The chocolate drink was actually too intense and the chocolate cake not as stunning as I hoped for, but overall we were mightily happy.

vegan children's afternoon tea

For the adults tea we had plain and fruit scones which were out of this world delicious. I think I make good scones but these had a wonderful glazed top and finer texture – they were heaven on a plate served with wonderful soft set strawberry jam. Honestly we’d have been happy to finish there, but next came the cakes! We had thought before that we might be hungry when we left, it was only afternoon tea after all, but we certainly didn’t need to worry at all!

plain and fruit scones, vegan

Our vegan/vegetarian version contained three sponges of which the raspberry was my favourite, along with a chopped pineapple cocktail and the most wonderful light and crispy shortbread. I cannot fault the food in any way, it was wonderful especially if you take into account our various difficult requirements.

vegan afternoon tea at The Langham

Just two negatives soured the occasion – we didn’t mention anything as we didn’t want to make a fuss and it was overall amazing and they’d gone to so much trouble. But, my vegetarian sandwich had a bit of ham stuck to the bottom – not nice! And worse for us was the waiter who came to chat about our requirements and started asking if any of us were ‘normal’ or we all had allergies – I’d just wanted to avoid that ‘oh you’re not normal’ attitude for once. He meant well certainly, but it was just a bit clumsy.
All in all I salute you the catering team at Palm Court, our requirements aren’t easy to cater for, especially when you’re also producing world class patisserie for other clientele. The whole occasion was an ultimate luxury treat and we were admirably catered for.

At one point one of the chefs came out to chat and offered a tour of the kitchen to our girls, but sadly we had to leave before he reappeared. We also saw Cherish herself on our way out, managing to thank her for the wonderful experience but I was not bold enough to have a proper conversation! But if you’re reading this Cherish, thank you so much you really made our day a very special occasion. We very much hope to return one day.

Disclaimer: I was not paid in any way for this review.

dairy-free, egg-free afternoon tea

Viennese Whirls

dairy-free egg-free viennese whirls

With the Great British Bake Off in full swing, I’m determined to bake along and prove nearly everything can be made friendly, delicious and beautiful. I’m a bit behind with my writing up so don’t expect recipes to be in sync with the series – my raspberry Jaffa Cakes will feature at some point down the line!

dairy-free chocolate Viennese whirl biscuits

Last week’s technical challenge was Viennese Whirls, the ideal biscuit recipe to recreate for our picnic today. Viennese whirls are pretty filled cookies – a short crumbly biscuit piped into a cute shape and mine filled with dairy-free buttercream. This version contrasts a dark cocoa-rich cookie with light fluffy white buttercream giving a dramatic effect. Also the bitterness of the cookie works well to balance the sweetness of the buttercream. These would be perfect for any elegant tea party, for people or teddy bears!

vegan Viennese whirls

Viennese Whirls 

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


makes about 6 sandwich cookies, multiply for more!

100g/ 1/2 cup dairy-free margarine

25g/ 2tbsp icing sugar

25g/ 2tbsp cocoa powder

100g/ 3/4-1 cup flour

1 tbsp dairy-free milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  2. Cream together the margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy
  3. Sift in the cocoa and flour and add the milk. Mix to make a stiff dough
  4. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the baking sheet, or simply roll out even sized balls
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  6. Cool on a wire rack
  7. Sandwich together with fluffy buttercream (see recipe here)


Lemon Sherbet Drizzle Cake

lemon sherbet drizzle cake, dairy-free egg-free nut-free

One of the few joys of the summer holidays drawing to an end and Autumn approaching is the return of the Great British Bake Off. It’s such great family friendly viewing, and a fantastic place to get some baking inspiration. On last week’s first show of the series, a drizzle cake was the signature bake, and who can resist a wonderful zingy drizzle cake like this traybake version based upon Mary’s own favourite recipe.

However, even better in my opinion is this lemon sherbet drizzle which is doused in a sherbety citrus syrup whilst still warm, giving the ultimate in sweet zippy citrus flavour and sticky, gooey top. This cake really packs in the zing factor so it’s one of Big S’s favourites – she has a particular fondness for anything zingy. In fact, it’s been the family favourite for many years, wheeled out for any celebration when a chocolate cake doesn’t quite fit! Try it, you’ll love it!

Lemon Sherbet Drizzle Cake

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

vegan lemon drizzle cake

Makes one 1lb loaf cake

200g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g caster sugar

a pinch of salt

100ml sunflower oil

150ml soya milk

1/2 tsp lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp lemon essence (optional)

For the syrup:

zest and juice of two and a half lemons

6 tbsps icing sugar

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarb and salt. Stir in the sugar and lemon zest
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the dairy-free milk, lemon juice, lemon essence and oil.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix until combined into a smooth mixture
  4. Pour into a lined loaf tin.
  5. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for approx. 30 minutes (until a knife comes out clean)
  6. While the cake is baking, make the syrup.
  7. Combine the juice, zest and icing sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until gorgeously syrupy.
  8. When the cake is cooked, take out of oven but leave in the tin and stab all over the top with a knife. Evenly pour over the syrup and leave to cool in the tin. I added a sprinkle of pearl sugar for added crunch.
  9. Remove from tin and sprinkle top with icing sugar, if desired.

dairy-free egg-free lemon sherbet drizzle cake

Homemade Toffee Crisp Chocolate Bars


vegan homemade toffee crisp

While dairy-free chocolate bars have improved enormously in the last few years thanks to brands like Moo Free and supermarket own brands, they’re still not especially exciting or child friendly. Most of the more interesting varieties are either extremely difficult to come by or they’re suitable for vegans but not if allergic to milk.

The girls are always utterly delighted when I make exciting chocolate bars, so to add to previous KitKat and Twix recipes already on my site, here is rather thrilling Toffee Crisp recipe. Sweet caramel coated Rice Krispies encased in smooth rich chocolate, who could resist that? The Toffee Crisp was certainly one of my favourites while growing up. Somehow the Rice Krispies remain crunchy and are a fabulous sweet and crispy centre to the bar.

dairy-free nut-free toffee crisp chocolate bars
My recipe is slightly different to the original Nestle bar as it is enrobed in smooth, dark chocolate, not sweet creamy chocolate. Feel free to mix that up, I just find that dairy-free milk chocolate gives less of a smooth shiny end product and as my girls are more used to dark than milky flavours, it’s what they prefer.
It may seem to be a total pain to make your own chocolate bars but as long as you have a little time and some silicone moulds they really are pretty simple, and you do feel very satisfied in the end. In fact, these bars went down so well that I’ve been requested to make a bubbly Aero next – I have no idea how I can manage that?

coating chocolate moulds

Homemade Dairy-free Toffee Crisp Bars

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

homemade dairy-free toffee crisp chocolate bars, vegan

makes about 8

100g dairy-free chocolate

40g dairy-free margarine

125g caster sugar

Dash of water

30g Rice Krispies (use gluten-free if you need)

  1. Melt and temper the chocolate using these guidelines
  2. Coat the silicone moulds with two layers of chocolate, leave to set in a cool place
  3. Melt together the sugar, margarine and water. Bring to a boil and cook until it just turns golden, between 260 and 265 degrees Centigrade. Make sure it doesn’t turn too dark of it’ll taste bitter. Pour in the Rice Krispies and stir so they are totally covered in the caramel.
  4. Fill the chocolate coated moulds with the caramel Rice Krispies and leave to harden. Once set, coat with another layer of chocolate, making sure all the gaps are filled.
  5. Once set, turn out of the moulds and trim off any edges. Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

making toffee crisp bars

Dairy-free Pain au Chocolat

dairy-free pain au chocolat

We’ve just returned from a wonderful holiday in Corsica, it was the perfect holiday for us: French culture, warm sunny weather, beaches and sea and plenty of family time.

One of the true joys of a French holiday are morning trips to the boulangerie to buy fresh crusty baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast. Every morning, little S would come and buy the fresh bread and pastries first thing and then look enviously at our pain au chocolat on the breakfast table. So I made a promise to make a batch on return.

I have made croissants and pain au chocolat before, but since it is a fairly lengthy process of making a yeasted dough and them ‘laminating’ the layers with butter/margarine in a similar fashion to puff pastry, it’s not been a regular feature in my baking! But, there was no way little S was going to feel like she’d missed out on anything in our wonderful French holiday, so pain au chocolat was on the menu on our return.

I’m pretty pleased with the results and both girls were delighted with a new fancy breakfast option, maybe a bit too pleased as they’re going to have to be made with some regularity! Luckily they do freeze brilliantly, so next time it’ll have to be a double sized batch!

pain au chocolat, egg-free, nut-free

Dairy-free Homemade Pain au Chocolat

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

vegan, egg-free, nut-free pain au chocolat


makes 8

250g plain flour

7g caster sugar

25g dairy-free margarine (I used Pure)

1 rounded tsp yeast

150ml dairy-free milk (I used Oatly)

125g dairy-free margarine

1 bar of dark dairy-free chocolate, about 50-60g, chopped

a sprinkle of caster sugar

melted dairy-free margarine for brushing

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar and yeast. Add the dairy-free margarine and cut into tiny bits
  2. Pour in the dairy-free milk and stir. Once come together, knead well to form a soft dough.
  3. Cover and leave to rise for a couple of hours
  4. Meanwhile, put the remaining 125g dairy-free margarine on to some cling film and loosely wrap. Roll out to a square shape, and place in the fridge to harden.
  5. Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough. Roll out to a large rectangle. Place the cooled spread in the middle and fold over the remaining dough.making vegan pain au chocolat
  6. Roll out and fold into thirds twice
  7. Place back in the fridge for thirty minutes or so, then roll out and fold back into thirds twice more. Repeat two or three times.
  8. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes more.
  9. Roll out to form a large rectangle. Cut into four long strips, halve each.dairy-free pain au chocolat
  10. Place a line of chocolate at each narrow end and roll both in to meet in the middle. Turn over
  11. Loosely cover with cling film and let rise on the baking tray for 30 minutes.proving vegan pain au chocolat
  12. Brush with the melted margarine and sprinkle with caster sugar
  13. Bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20 minutespain au chocolat, no milk, no eggs , no nuts

Luscious Lemon Mousse (egg, dairy and gelatine free)

dairy-free, egg-free vegan lemon mousse
Whilst you can’t beat chocolate mousse, there’s something so light and refreshing about lemon mousse that makes me crave this cloudy zesty dessert every now and then.

I’ve been veggie for all my adult life, so I haven’t eaten a traditional lemon mousse for a long long time, but I still occasionally think back to those treat lemon mousse pots from M&S in my childhood! Since Big S is a huge citrus fan I knew it would appeal to her too, but it has been a difficult recipe to develop – the lemon juice almost ‘curdles’ any dairy-free cream and most attempts have led to a thick and over-creamy top above some watery lemon soup at the bottom. Which is not nice.
This recipe on the other hand gives you a billowy, cloud-like lemon mousse which is every bit as aerated as an egg, milk and gelatine based original. Using the the same process as my strawberry soufflé, the aquafaba meringue gives it a light mousse-like texture, the dairy-free cream creates rich creaminess and the lemon gel adds some zingy lemon flavour. It is best eaten on the day it’s made, or the next day (after any longer it will want to separate) but there is no need to hang around before eating it.

As you can see from the following two pictures the texture firms up over time. In the first photo the mousse is about 1 hour post creation and has a light fluffy texture, with the texture of a citrus foam. The second picture shows the mousse the following day and you can see the texture is firmer and more creamy, with a more traditional mousse consistency.

vegan lemon mousse day it's made

vegan lemon mousse, day 2

Luscious Lemon Mousse

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

egg-free nut-free lemon mousse

serves 4 – 6

zest of 2 lemons

Juice of 2 lemons

1g carragennan kappa or the veggie gelatine equivalent of 2 leaves of gelatine

1/3 cup aquafaba

Pinch of cream of tartar

4 tbsp icing sugar

300ml whipped dairy-free cream


  1. Bring the lemon juice and zest and carragennan kappa to a boil, stir and simmer for one minute. Set aside to cool and set
  2. Whisk together the aquafaba and cream of tartar until light and fluffy. Best in the sugar 1 tbsp at a time to make a thick, smooth, glossy meringue. Set aside.
  3. Whip the cream to form soft peaks.
  4. Break up the lemon jelly and whisk into the cream, adding food colour if desired.
  5. Stir in 1 tbsp of the meringue, then gently fold in the rest until the mix is evenly combined.
  6. Spoon into the prepared ramekins and place in the fridge to chill.

dairy-free lemon mousse

Bahn Mi Salad


vegan bahn mi salad bowl

I’ve had this idea of turning Classic Bahn Mi baguette filling flavours into a salad for quite a while, and now the weather has turned super hot (albeit briefly!) it’s the perfect opportunity for exciting salad eating.

In my day job, I work in two different locations, so I spend rather too much time walking the streets of the City or sitting on London buses. It does give a lot of looking out the window and contemplating opportunities, and time to draw inspiration for my recipes. Just off one of my regular bus route there are two Bahn Mi shops within meters of each other (crazy, huh!), hence my thoughts turned to recreating the classic Vietnamese hot spicy, pickled, herby flavours of  a Bahn Mi baguette into a salad.

free-from vietnamese salad, no milk, no nuts, no eggs

In this salad bowl I have marinated noodles which are topped with Sriracha roasted beans, quick pickled red cabbage, cucumber and carrot ribbons, tomatoes and plenty of coriander. It makes for a delicious and very moreish bowlful. The noodles are best prepared in advance and cope very nicely with a couple of days in the fridge if need be. Same with the red cabbage. Just make sure you put all the topping on at the last minute to retain freshness and crunch.

Bahn Mi Salad

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

dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free vietnamese noodle salad

serves at least 4 (multiple the veg for more people as there will be plenty of noodles and cabbage)

 For the quick pickled red cabbage:

1/4 red cabbage

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp water

1/2 tbsp salt

  1. Massage the cabbage with the 1tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside for at least half an hour. Pour away any juice which have seeped out.
  2. Combine the water, vinegar and rest of the salt. Pour over the cabbage. Cover and leave to pickle for at least half an hour.

For the Sriracha roasted beans:

1/2 tin white beans or chickpeas

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp olive oil

A few good squirts of Sriracha

  1. Toss the beans in the paprika,oil and chilli sauce and roast in a medium oven (180 degrees) for 15-20 minutes.

For the marinated noodles:

4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

5 tbsps soy sauce

3 tbsps balsamic vinegar

3 tbsps sugar

1 tsp salt

1 pack of wheat noodles (250g) or equal amount of spaghetti

6 spring onions, finely sliced

  1. Mix together the oil, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside
  2. Cook the noodles or spaghetti according to the pack instructions. Make sure they are slightly undercooked and then drain and run under cold water to halt the cooking process.
  3. Mix the noodles into the marinade. Add the spring onions and set aside. Marinate for as long as possible for really tasty noodles.

For the veg:

2 spring onions, sliced

1 carrot, shaved into ribbons

1/2 cucumber, shaved into ribbons

1/2 red pepper, finely sliced

Large handful cherry tomatoes, halved


To assemble:

  1. In a bowl, cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of marinated noodles
  2. Top with strips of pickled cabbage, roasted Sriracha beans and veg
  3. Add carrot and cucumber ribbons around the edge
  4. Top with a scattering of coriander and a few squirts of Sriracha
  5. Eat straight away

vegetarian noodle salad, Bahn Mi style