Bonfire or Christmas Spice Scones

I’m not one for a milky coffee but I do like the sound of the seasonal varieties that are sold in the big golf shop chains. Bonfire and pumpkin spice sounds so warm and appealing and just the right kind of taste for these cold winter months. So to avoid missing out, I’ve added the same warm spices to these delightfully light and fluffy spiced clouds of pure pleasure!

After the awful scones we had in a 5*hotel (see previous post!) I felt I had to post a better recipe Ā – One Aldwych if you’re reading look here for a good dairy and egg-free scone recipe šŸ˜‰ These scones are spot on every time, light, fluffy and delicate; absolutely nothing like the almost inedible hard biscuits we got in the fancy tea!

I’ve provided two different spice varieties; one more autumnal and the other with a bit more of a Christmas feel but adding clementine and lemon zest to the mix.

Spiced Scones

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

Makes about 12

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch ground cardamon

(zest of 1 lemon and 1 clementine for Christmas spice)

220g plain flour

1 and 1/2 tsps baking powder

2 tbsp dairy-freeĀ margarine

2 tbsp soft brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Up to 100ml dairy-freeĀ milk

1-2 tbsps Demerara sugar

1 tbsp dairy-free milk

  1. Preheat the oven toĀ 200 degrees centigrade/Gas mark 6
  2. Grease and flour a baking sheet
  3. Mix together all the spices (plus zests if making Christmas spice)
  4. Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and most of the spice mix spices. Rub in the margarineĀ until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Pour in some of the dairy-free milk. Gently bring together to form a soft dough (do NOT knead or youā€™ll end up with rock hard scones!). Add more milk if necessary.
  6. Gently pat out to a circle about 5cm thick. Stamp our circles and place on the baking sheet. Gather up the remaining dough, pat out again and stamp out more circles until all the dough is used up
  7. Brush the tops with dairy-free milkĀ and sprinkle over some Demerara sugar and the remaining spice mix
  8. Bake forĀ 20-25 minutesĀ until well risen and golden on the tops and bottoms
  9. Cool on a wire rack

Christmas Spice Pancakes

I’ve decided that we’re going to do a full on Christmas this year, with festive flavours dominating our menu. After all, why do half measures when you can go the whole hog!!

That got me thinking about breakfast, our only non festive meal of the day. Surely Christmas day needs to start with a bang to set the right tone for the festivities.

I love the spices that fill the air at Christmas and that inspired these delightfully spiced Christmas pancakes. Pancakes are not only a luxurious celebratory breakfast but are quick and simple to make and light enough to leave room for the epic Christmas lunch. I think that hit’s all the requirements for a Christmas breakfast! Don’t forget though that pancakes also make a fantastic pudding too.

The spice mix used in this recipe is the epitome of the taste of Christmas and is perfect for adding to any recipe at this time of year. I’ve added it to soya lattes, pastry, apple pie and of course these pancakes.

Serve with a dusting of glittery icing sugar or a glug of maple syrup šŸ™‚

 

Christmas Spice Mix

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp mixed spice

zest of 1 clementine

Christmas Spice Pancakes

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

Serves 2

1/2 cup self-raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp Christmas spice mix

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp flavourless oil, I used sunflower

1/2 cup dairy-free milk, I used oat milk.

  1. Sift the flour, spice, salt and baking powder into a bowl andĀ stir in the sugar.
  2. Whisk in the oil and milk to form a smooth, fairly thin batter. Set aside to start bubbling
  3. Heat a frying pan and swipe with a little oil. Cook the pancakes on both sides until starting to colour and slightly puffed up
  4. Keep warm until ready to serve
  5. Serve with maple syrup or icing sugar

Jamaican Jerk Roasted Cauliflower

This dish is inspired by legend and fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt. His skill, speed and joyful showmanship have caught our imagination and everyone else’s for years. How could it not? He will certainly be a sporting figure that my children will remember fondly in the future. We so wanted to see him run at the 2012 Olympics and these 2017 World Championships but alas the ballot wasn’t in our favour. So like nearly everyone else we’ve had to live the experience through the TV instead. We were all pretty disappointed he didn’t win the 100m last weekend. With his retirement approaching I’m posting one of my favourite Jamaican influenced recipes of jerk roasted cauliflower, rice and picked pink onions. I have no idea if Usain would approve my plant-based meal, he famously claimed to eat about 1,000 chicken nuggets in Beijing so I’m guessing he doesn’t usually swap chicken for cauliflower! But, it’s Jamaican Jerk spiced so I hope it would be acceptable!

Spiced and roasted cauliflower is nothing new, especially in the blogosphere, but this jerk spiced recipe is rather unusual. Cauliflower retains spice and flavour really well, and roasting it does magical things, giving a softer centre and wonderfully charred edges . This recipe is a big hit with the girls, and the spice level can by easily upped or downed to taste – they actually like it quite spicy. I’ve served it here with some [non dairy] sour cream with chilli which makes it less dry, and some gorgeous pink pickled onions, with rice whichever way you like, here a mushroom pilaf.

Jamaican Jerk Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

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

2 tsp jerk spice

3 tbsp tomato ketchup

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp honey

1 tbs lemon thyme, finely chopped

1 dried chilli

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

1 Cauliflower, cut into florets

  1. Mix together all the ingredients except the cauliflower to make the marinade.
  2. Coat the cauliflower florets with the marinade and set aside for at least half an hour.
  3. Make the pink pickled onions whist the cauliflower is marinading (recipe below)
  4. Roast the cauliflower for about 25-40 minutes at 180 degrees Centigrade, until its soft and browned at the edges
  5. Serve with rice, on a bed of chilli ‘sour cream’ (recipe below)Ā and topped with the pickled onions.

Quick Pink Pickled Onions

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

2 red onions

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup water

2 tbsps soft brown sugar

1 tbsp peppercorns

  1. Finely slice the onions.Ā Place in a colander in the sink and slowly pour over a kettle of boiling water.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together the vinegar, water, sugar and peppercorns. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add the onions to the vinegar mix. Cover and let stand in the fridge for at least half an hour before using.
  4. There will be plenty left over, so keep the leftovers in the fridge

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
1/2 a red chilli, finely chopped
small handful parsley, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp dairyfree sour cream
seasoning
squeeze to lemon juice
  1. Mix together all the ingredients, taste and adjust seasoning to own preference.

To make a wonderful meal serve with pilaf rice, our favourite and probably the easiest way to cook flavourful rice with little fuss. I also think the additions of chilli sour cream (use Tofutti sour cream alternative) and quick pink pickled onions really work to make a well rounded plate of complimentary flavour sensations.

Vanilla Spice Hot Cross Buns

 

With Easter fast approaching, my thoughts have turned towards festive baking and what could be more Easter-y than Hot Cross Buns. Every year seem to make a new variety – I was particularly pleased with the flavour combination of last years sticky toffee onesĀ (actually i really must make some of them before the weekend!) and chocolate chip varieties of anything go down well in this household.

ButĀ by and large Easter baking means spice – hot cross buns, easter biscuits and simnel cake all have a mellow spice that is the taste of sweet easter baking (if you remove chocolate from the equation!). This hot cross buns variation leaves out the dried fruit (to please my kids) but ramps up the spice and adds the mellow sweetness of vanilla. It’s s great combination and I do recommend taking the time to make these for EasterĀ – they’re so rewarding and fun to make.

Vanilla Spice Hot Cross Buns

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

makes 9-12

550-575g strong bread flour

1 tsp dried yeast

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1and 1/5 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

1 and 3/4 cups warm oat milk

2 tbsps melted dairy-free margarine

for the crosses:

2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp water

for the glaze:

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp water

  1. Ā In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, lemon zest, salt and spices.Ā Make a well in the centre and pour in the dairy-freeĀ milk and melted dairy-free margarine, bring together to form a dough (adding more flour if too wet, or more liquid if too dry)
  2. Knead for about 5 mins until the dough is smooth
  3. Place in a bowl and cover, leave in a warm place to double in size
  4. Knock back, knead again and then form into 9-12 even sized balls. Place well spaced on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper (or as i did, nearish so they link up when baked)
  5. Leave to rise again for 10-20 minutes
  6. Mix together the water and flour to make a paste and pipe onto the top of the buns in crosses
  7. Bake atĀ 190 degrees/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutesĀ until risen and the buns sound hollow
  8. Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the water and boiling briefly. Brush over the hot buns.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  10. These buns are best kept loosely covered or the glaze will make them go a bit soggy.

Biscoff Filled Spiced Doughnuts

 

lotus filled vegan doughnuts

Are doughnuts the ultimate naughty, sweet treat? There’s something about them that screams crazy overindulgence – the sugar, the filing, the fact they’re fried! And, it’s national doughnut week [if I was looking for an excuse to make some more!]

dairy-free donuts

Little S is off on a school residential trip this week, it’s the longest she’s ever been away from home, and we’ve really been missing her and herĀ amazing positive energy that keeps us all buzzy and upbeat! Also, we’ve obviously been worried about food – the centre were very on the case and reassured me before she went, but you can’t help wondering if she is actually eating anything, or brave enough to trust someone else’s food….

Anyway, she’s home tomorrow (at last) and so I just had to create a special treat to welcome her back home, where she belongs. And so evolved this batch of super ‘naughty but nice’ Lotus spread filled (or jam for any traditionalists) spiced doughnuts, a proper treat to great the smallest member of the family back home šŸ™‚

egg-free doughnuts

These beauties are proper handful sized doughnuts, spiced with wonderful Speculaas Spice and then filed with smooth Caramelised Lotus Biscoff spreadĀ keeping the mellow spiced theme – utter delight!

dairy-free filled doughnuts

 

Filled Spiced Doughnuts

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

makes aboutĀ 8

1 cup water

1/2 tbsp dried yeast

2 tbsps melted dairy-free margarine, such as Pure

3 cups plain flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp speculaas spice or cinnamon

1/4 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup smooth Lotus Biscoff spread or seedless raspberry jam to fill

1/2 cup caster sugar, to roll in

lotus filled egg-free doughnuts

  1. Mix together theĀ water and melted margarine
  2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon
  3. Stir in the 1/4 cup caster sugar
  4. Pour in the water mixture and bring together to form a soft dough
  5. Cover the bowl and let rise for an hour or two
  6. Roll out the dough to about 1 inch thick and cut out circles or rings with cutters.
  7. Place on a floured baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove for an extra 15 minutes

vegan fried donuts

  1. Bring a pan of flavourless oil up to heat (180 degrees centigrade – itā€™s the right temperature when a piece of bread bubbles on contact)
  2. Deep fry 2-3 doughnuts at a time until well browned all over
  3. Drain on paper towels
  4. Roll in the sugar whilst still warm.
  5. To fill the doughnuts ā€“ once cool, make a small hole in one side and pipe in some lotus spread or raspberry jam.

vegan fried donuts

Goodness in a Bowl (Spiced lentil and red pepper soup)

I don’t think much feels as worthy and good for you as a bowl of homemade lentil soup, although with its warming cumin, coriander and chilli maybe it’s suited more to winter than today’s spring conditions. We’ve got an event at school tonight, so cooking the soup now will make a lovely, comforting meal to return to – hopefully not too late, surely a presentation can’t go on for that long!

Goodness in a BowlĀ (vegetarian, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegan)

serves 4-6

  • 1 onion and 1 shallot (or 2 onions), chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red chilli (leave out if you don’t like spice), finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 red peppers
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tbsps tomato puree
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper

– Sweat off the onions, carrots, peppers, chilli and celery.

– When nicely softened add the spices and tomato puree.

– Cook out

– Add the vegetable stock.

– Simmer for 20 minutes. PurĆ©e with a hand-held blender or in a liquidizer.

– Season