Soda bread

Thanks again to Jack Monroe for the idea to make a vegan version of soda bread – this time from her article in The Guardian on storecupboard recipes. None of the ingredients need refrigeration. My niece is vegan and it’s always nice to bring something to a family tea that isn’t specifically vegan but that she will happily eat. This fits the bill perfectly as she used to love soda bread when she was a child.

  • 250g flour (doesn’t have to be bread flour – I usually do a mix of 2/3 plain flour to 1/3 wholemeal or 8 grain flour)
  • extra flour for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 180ml coconut milk (full fat for preference – but low fat would work if you add a bit of extra oil)
  • 1 dessertspoon vegetable oil

Measure the flour, salt, and bicarb into a big mixing bowl.  Combine them well so that the bicarb is thoroughly mixed into the flour.

In a jug, measure out the 180ml coconut milk and the lemon juice.  Add a splash of oil if you’re using low fat coconut milk.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, and pour in most of the coconut milk/lemon juice mixture, and stir quickly until it comes together into a dough. You may not need to add the final bit of liquid – it depends on the flour whether it absorbs all of it or not. Flour your worktop generously, rub a splash of oil on your hands to stop the dough sticking to your fingers, then tip out the dough and knead it gently for about a minute, then form it into a ball.   Use some of the excess flour on the worktop to scatter on a baking tray, then place the dough on the tray.  Score a cross on the top of your ball of dough, dust it with more flour, then put it in the oven (fan oven 160 degrees C) for about 40 minutes.  When it’s done, you should be able to tap it on the bottom and it will sound hollow.  Leave to cool for a bit before slicing.

NB this soda bread recipe can also be made using yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk in place of the coconut milk. But then it wouldn’t be vegan.

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home made granola

Nutty granola

This is my take on the excellent Jack Monroe’s peanut butter granola recipe. Please visit her blog detailing easy recipes for those on a budget, Cooking on a Bootstrap, and while you’re there pre-order two copies of her new book Tin Can Cook – one for you, and one to donate to your nearest food bank.  I’ve tried to cut down on the sugars and add more nuts and seeds. These are rough estimates of quantities I used. You could be adventurous and make up your own based on what you like. I might try marmalade instead of syrup next time, and mix in dark chocolate chips for a breakfast jaffacake kind of vibe.

  • 30ml walnut oil
  • 65g crunchy peanut butter
  • 300g jumbo oats
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 25g Truvia brown sugar blend (half real sugar, half sweetener)
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 80g raisins or sultanas
  • 80g milled linseed (available at Aldi or Lidl these days)

Measure out the oil, peanut butter, syrup and Truvia into a big microwaveable bowl and nuke for about 30 seconds, stir, then nuke again for 30 seconds.  You want the ingredients to melt together but not get so hot that they bubble.  Meantime, measure out the oats.  When the liquid ingredients have calmed down a bit but are still warm, stir in the oats.  At this point you can also add the linseed and almonds (or you can leave them out until later).  Give it all a good stir so all the oats are coated in the liquid mixture.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread the oats in an even layer on the paper, patting it down with the back of a spoon.  Put in a pre-heated medium oven (160 degrees C fan oven) and bake for about 15 minutes. The oat mixture should look only lightly toasted. If it’s dark brown, you’ve gone too far!  Leave to cool on the tray, then break it up and mix in the sultanas, plus the almonds and linseed if you kept them out of the mixture at the beginning.  Store in an airtight container and enjoy for breakfast sprinkled on fruit and yogurt, or with milk.