Top 10 Vegan Pancake Recipes!

Tomorrow is of course Shrove Tuesday, so in case any of you are wondering how on earth you are going to honour such a day without access to eggs, then fear not.  Here are my top ten tried and tested vegan pancake recipes – all of them eggless and still eggcellent!

1. One Ingredient Chef’s Classic Vegan Pancakes  

Vegan Pancakes Syrup

2. Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

vegan blueberry pancakes

3. Post Punk Kitchen’s ‘Puffy Pillow Pancakes’

Puffy Pillow Pancakes

4. BBC’s ‘Vegan Mushroom and Tomato Pancakes’

Vegan tomato & mushroom pancakes

5. OhSheGlows’ ‘Strawberry Shortcake Stacked Pancakes’

Lemon Strawberry Stacks

 

6. Hungry Curious’ ‘Three Ingredient Vegan Pancakes’  

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7. Vegan Insanity’s ‘Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes with Blueberry Compote’

Lemon-Poppy-Seed-Pancakes

8. Minimalist Baker’s ‘Oreo Cookie Pancakes’  

9.  Deb Gleason’s ‘Chocolate Protein Banana Pancakes’

Chocolate-Banana-Protein-Pancakes

10. Why not kill 2 birds with 1 stone and make your loved ones some Valentine’s themed vegan pancakes, with Vegan Woman’s ‘Valentine’s Day Chocolate Chip and Strawberry Pancakes’

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Go wild for the Wild Food Cafe

I finally made it to the Wild Food Café in Covent Garden today.  I’ve been meaning to go for months and months and it was well worth the wait.

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It’s tucked away above Neal’s Yard.  It’s cosy (seats about 40 people) but bright and airy.  It’s a really lovely space with the kitchen in full view bang in the middle and you can either sit at the bar that runs all around the kitchen and watch them cooking or at one of the 4 big tables overlooking Neal’s Yard.  Today it was absolutely freezing outside but the sun was pouring in through the large bay windows and it felt like a little haven of friendly, cosy, welcoming, warmth on an Arctic London day.

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It describes itself as a ‘raw-centric food restaurant’ and uses ‘wild, fresh, colourful gourmet ingredients & plant-based (vegan and vegetarian) cuisine’.  The vast majority of the menu is vegan and a lot of it raw.  For anyone who is nervous of the phrase ‘raw vegan’ and presumes they will be faced with a plateful of rabbit food sprinkled with bird feed then fear not – it is astonishing what these guys create and you really don’t even notice that it’s raw.

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I started with their ‘Incredible Green’ super smoothie –  apple, celery, lemon, banana, kale, fresh coconut, fresh aloe vera, fresh irish moss.  It’s £6 which is pretty expensive but it’s almost a meal in itself.  A hearty comforting glass of goodness.

raw burger

Then I ordered THE WILD BURGER – scrumtious shiitake, raw olive & dulse burger with in-house cultured Wild Sauce, tomatillo salsa verde, caramelised onions, baba ganoush & crispy gem lettuce in a wholemeal sprouted organic wheatbread(V)(N)(R) £12.  Completely delicious and filling, although not the biggest plate of food for £12.

 

 

Wild Raw Pizza  Ed had the WILD PIZZA SPECIAL – raw, dairy-free young coconut cheeze, wild sea purslane & basil pesto, raw cultured tomato & goji berry marinara, Turkish olives, artichoke hearts, avocado(V)(N)(R) £12.5  This was the star of the show and honestly one of the most delicious meals I have ever had in my life.  It made me want to rush out and buy a dehydrator immediately!  

The desserts looked amazing but we ran out of time sadly – but now I have an excuse to go back as soon as I possibly can…

Raw Chocolate and Berry Tartfig-orange-tart

raw cake

Oh and the waiting staff are really knowledgeable and helpful… and exceedingly attractive which is always always a bonus!

Wild Food Café has a real community feeling about it.  They offer cooking courses, full moon feasts, meditation sessions, gourmet meals with guest chefs etc… Go check it out!

Wild Food Cafe

Thanks for your concern…

I had one of those amusing slash infuriating moments recently that all vegans and veggies have to put up with often.  I was sat eating my lunch (steamed kale, spinach, chickpeas and broccoli with a tahini and lemon dressing) whilst a colleague ate hers (mozzarella and bacon Panini with a packet of crisps).  Over the course of our lunch she tried to explain to me why she thinks veganism is a bad idea.  Her reasoning:

1. It’s too expensive

2. It’s dangerous to cut out entire food groups from your diet

3.  It’s an unnatural diet and not one that we are designed to eat

Hmmm…. I sat there looking from my plate to her plate and back again and wondered how she could not see the irony and complete nonsense of what she was saying.  There was I, a committed vegan for nearly 2 years, eating a plateful of the most nutritious, tasty, cheap, locally grown, organic whole food whilst she sat across from me eating a plateful of high cholesterol, high fat, unhealthy, expensive, factory farmed, deep fried, highly processed rubbish!

Now I’m not saying you can’t eat a really healthy non-vegan diet because of course you can.  But I’m saying it’s astounding how often people will completely ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to discussing the health benefits of veganism.  They’ll start muttering on about vitamin B12, iron levels and zinc and dive straight into the nitty gritty of the possible nutritional shortfalls of a vegan diet if you don’t do it sensibly, whilst ignoring the fact that I’m there snacking on an apple and they’re on their fifth chocolate digestive…

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Easy, tasty, super healthy light lunch…

I baked some tofu for the first time this week and can’t believe I’ve waited this long to try it.  It’s entirely different to stir-fried tofu and the perfect thing for when you fancy a ‘meatier’ texture but don’t fancy mushrooms…  For this recipe I used firm tofu and then pressed it for 15 mins to get as much moisture out as I could.  Then I cut it into 1 inch cubes and marinated it for 2 hours in soy sauce, rice vinegar, grated fresh ginger, chilli paste, agave and minced garlic.  I then baked it in a hot oven (200 degrees c) for 40 mins so it was really chewy and added it to some lightly steamed baby spinach and squeezed some fresh lemon over it.

Along side this I made a really vibrant tasty salad –

1 cup quinoa, black olives, red and yellow tomatoes, cucumber, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and torn basil.

Light but filling lunch.  Super easy to make and extraordinarily nutritious!

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Why so angry…?

Most friends who respect you as a person will ask lots of questions about why you’ve switched to a vegan lifestyle and either agree with your reasoning or agree to disagree and move on.  But there will always be some that struggle to accept it and can neither brush it aside nor feel satisfied enough to leave it be.

I’ve got several friends who, nearly two years on from my switch to veganism, are still really quite angry about it. Just as I think everyone’s accepted it, you’ll get a sarcastic comment or a mocking glance and realise that some people are still really bothered by it, despite endless attempts to accept it and move on. There are various similarities in their behaviours and attitudes which help explain why certain people are more accepting than others.  What they have in common is that none of them can quite explain what it is that makes them so angry – no amount of logical, well reasoned, well researched arguments can persuade them to at least accept my reasons for making these choices even if it doesn’t affect their way of thinking.  And we keep ending up where we began – fists clenched, brows furrowed, check mate!

So here’s a typical profile of these types of friends – very traditional values, conservative outlook, relatively right wing, very proud of their ‘British’ heritage and way of life, not particularly comfortable with change, risk-averse, quite cynical of anything ‘newfangled’ or ‘progressive’ etc. They’re the ones who are very happy living within their comfort zones and are very wary of anything that lies outside of it.

The problem with this mind set is that it leaves very little room for intelligent debate, personal growth or fundamental change.   Of all the choices I’ve made in my life, nothing has made it more glaringly obvious which friends fall into which camp more unforgivingly than veganism.

So what are the similarities in attitudes towards veganism I’ve noticed amongst these friends:    

– Questions without any real curiosity.  Asking lots of questions which have nothing to do with the question being asked and are meant purely to demonstrate their disapproval of vegan attitudes.  For example, yesterday I was asked whether or not I am careful about where I buy my coconut oil from.  This would ordinarily be an interesting question as it does pose lots of environmental problems, but the problem with this question was that the person asking had no interest in the answer and was purely trying to pick holes in the vegan diet.  So they are already decided that veganism is a nonsense without actually having looked into it in any detail whatsoever.

Ignorance about veganism.  One particularly disapproving friend has a mother who has been vegan/vegetarian for years and admits that she’s never asked her why and she doesn’t actually know what veganism is.  She regularly offers me cows milk, yoghurt, cakes etc and  clearly doesn’t know what a vegan diet includes or excludes at all.  Which only frustrates me because without even knowing what it is she has such feelings about it – which makes no sense at all and hints at the real underlying issue here.  It’s nothing to do with ones choice to eschew all animal products and everything to do with ones decision to live via a different set of principles to the opens you’re been bought up by.

How dare you change your mind!  One friend said to me ‘I just can’t understand how you can have grown up hunting, shooting and fishing and suddenly change your mind’.  Well of course I can – you grow up doing what you’re told and you only know what you experience.  It’s not until you develop your own thoughts about the world that you discover what your values are and of course sometimes these will be different to your parents.  What on earth is the point of having a brain if not to question things, to learn, develop and grow as a person?  That should be the ultimate aim of a parent should it not?  To raise a child who is confident and curious enough to question, thoughtful enough to think, brave enough to explore, courageous enough to change?

– Another newfangled fad?  Another friend recently made a very sarcastic comment, saying ‘Oh sorry, I forgot, now you don’t like hunting – I really must try harder to keep up’.  The implication being that I am someone who chops and changes and is fickle-minded on these matters which is entirely unfair and untrue.  This demonstrates her discomfort with my changing values and she has somehow taken it personally that I no longer feel the way I used to about certain things we used to share.  I think this is at the crux of a lot of this ‘angry reaction’ – people who you have grown up with and with whom you’ve shared so much, find it particularly difficult to accept your changing values.  They feel that you are somehow rejecting the past and disrespecting everything that you once held in such high regard.  Which really isn’t true.  I understand entirely why I felt the way I did – just as I understand entirely why I feel the way I do about things now.  All of my thoughts, views, opinions are shaped by what I’ve seen, learned and experienced.  Nothing more and nothing less than that.  And to suggest that it is anything personal is just total toffee!

So how best to handle these firendships as they struggle to find their feet again on new ground? 

The impossible thing is that you can’t discuss the real issue here because that would involve admitting that it actually has nothing to do with veganism and everything to do with you growing as people in different directions and not knowing what that means for the future of your friendship.  Friendships are built on shared experiences, shared values, understanding and loyalty.  Some will weather many a storm and some will sink.  Perhaps only time will really tell but in the meantime there are several things we can do to try and maintain as strong a foothold as possible:

– Reassure these friends that you are still the same person – you just make slightly different choices when it comes to what you consume now.

Reassure these friends that you really are not judging them.  These are your choices and yours alone and you only arrived at these choices after carrying out a huge amount of research and finding out things that you’d never even suspected.  So why would anyone else feel the same way you did if they hadn’t read/seen/learned what you have?  You certainly don’t expect anyone else to change over night just because you have.  Remind them that you ate exactly what they are eating very happily for 30 odd years (or whatever it was!) so you are in no place to cast judgement on anyone else.

– If they do ask questions, show that you appreciate their curiosity and try to engage with them and answer without being patronising, dismissive or emotional.  Keep it light and if it looks like it’s getting heavy, suggest that you ping them some links to documentaries, books, websites etc that will explain it far better than you can!

– Remember that this is their issue and not yours.  Their anger at your decision to be vegan has nothing to do with the reasons why you’ve decided to be a vegan and everything to do with their struggle to accept that it is nothing personal – it is not an indictment of your friendship or a judgement on them as a person.  Hopefully once they see that you still value their opinion, respect their views and cherish their friendship, they will be able to accept your choices without feeling threatened or judged by them.

– Give it time. The first few times you hang out together are always the hardest.  Once your friends can see that this isn’t a passing fad or some pretentious thing you like the look of but don’t really understand, they will slowly begin to accept it whether they agree with it or not.  The trick is not to let it derail your friendship in the interim!

Domestic Vegan Goddess!

So I cooked up a vegan storm last night and am feeling a touch smug this morning.  I should mention ahead of my smug gloating that I am not a good cook.  I can’t make anything without a recipe and nothing I make ever looks like the picture and most times that I do go to great lengths to make something entirely from scratch I end up wondering why I didn’t just call on Lloyd Grossman or his brethren for a far less stressful, quicker, cheaper and tastier cooking experience!

Anyway, this was a rare occasion where I did everything from scratch and it was totally worth it – knocked the socks of Mr Grossman and I danced around the kitchen dreaming of my own vegan cooking series… ‘Tasty Tempeh’ or ‘Hemp Happiness’ perhaps…?  Hmmm… can work on the title – meanwhile back to what I actually cooked:

So we started with a fiery guacamole and toasted pitta – dead easy, dead delish.  Then sat down for the most creamy and delicious Malai Kofta with brown basmati rice:

Chandra malai kofta vegan recipe.

The sauce was thick and creamy, the dumplings were zingy and tasty and even held their shape (a revelation!), the rice was soft and fluffy (never get brown rice right usually) and it even looked delicious on the plate with a flourish of coriander from the garden – oh stop it now you’re showing off!  Plates were licked clean, seconds were proffered and taken and pleasant noises were murmured all round.  Success!

Then we had the Pièce de résistance –

10 best Chocolate and pecan tart

This chocolate and pecan tart.  Homina homina homina.  And so easy to make that even I couldn’t f*** it up!  Bloody ruddy yummy.

Gogo was most helpful…

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Recipes for you here:

Chandra malai kofta

(Serves 4)
For the kofta:
½ x 425g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup slivered almonds
1½ tsp cumin seeds
225g courgette, shredded
¼ cup finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1¼ cups Panko breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp refined coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, very finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 400g tin lite coconut milk
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 cup frozen peas

For everything else:
Refined coconut oil, for frying (2 tbsp or so)
Cooked basmati rice, for serving
Fresh coriander, for garnish (optional)

Prepare the kofta mixture
In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas until they are mushy but not quite pureed.

Preheat a large, heavy pan over a medium heat. Toast the almonds for about 7 minutes, tossing frequently, until they are golden and browned in some spots. Transfer immediately to the bowl containing the chickpeas. Next, toast the cumin seeds for 3 minutes or so, until fragrant and a shade or two darker. Transfer those to the bowl as well.

Add the courgette, coriander, ginger, garlic, salt, and black pepper, and mix well.

Now add the breadcrumbs and use your hands to mix and mush until it holds together. Cover with plastic wrap (or a plate) and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce
Drain the cashews and add to a blender along with the broth. Blend until very smooth. This could take from 1-5 minutes depending on the strength of your machine, so give your blender a break every minute or so and test the sauce for smoothness. It should be very smooth, with only a slight graininess. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure you get everything.

Preheat a pan over a medium heat and add the coconut oil. Saute the onion in the oil for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook just until fragrant, 15 seconds or so. Add the curry powder, garam masala, and cumin and toss for a minute or so, just to toast the spices a bit.

Add the coconut milk, tomato paste, blended cashews and salt. Bring to a low simmer and let cook for 15 minutes or so. It should thicken up nicely. Add the peas and let them warm through. Taste for seasonings, then turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve.

Cook the kofta
Preheat a large cast-iron pan (or any pan that is nonstick and good for frying)over a medium heat. Line the counter with some parchment paper to keep the formed kofta from sticking. Scoop up a scant ¼ cup of the mixture. Roll between your hands to pack it well, and then roll into a football shape. Set on the parchment and continue to form all 12 kofta.

When the pan is hot enough, add some coconut oil and make sure it coats the bottom of the pan. Now add the kofta, rolling each one around in the pan when you add it, making sure to coat all sides. Use a little extra oil, if needed.

Fry them for about 7 minutes, rolling them around in the pan to get them browned on all sides. They don’t have to be uniformly browned; just do your best. Once browned, turn off the heat.

To assemble
Scoop some rice on to each plate, place 3 koftas on top of the rice, and cover with sauce. Garnish with coriander, if you like, and serve.

• This recipe is taken from Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, published by Sphere, price £20.

Chocolate and pecan tart (from Jordan Bourke, jordanbourke.com)

The rich fruitiness (and extra vitamins) provided by the avocados, dates and coconut oil here add hidden depth to this chocolate tart. Best served from the fridge, within two days of making it.

Serves 8
150g pecans, plus extra for decorating
10 dried pitted dates
125g oatcakes
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
3 tsp cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt

For the filling
3 large ripe avocados, peeled and destoned
6 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 tbsp date syrup (or more maple syrup)
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
5 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
100g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and roast the pecans for about 4 minutes, or until they are a shade darker and aromatic – watch them carefully as they burn very quickly. Leave to cool completely.

2 In a food processor, blitz the dates for a few seconds, then add the rest of the ingredients for the base and blitz until everything is very finely chopped and sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Very firmly press the mixture into a 20cm-diameter springform tin, so that you have an even, smooth and compacted base for the tart. Place in the freezer to set for 15-20 minutes.

3 For the filling, place all the ingredients into a food processor, apart from the coconut oil and dark chocolate, then blitz until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as you go. This could take a few minutes, depending on the strength of your machine.

4 With the processor still running, pour in the melted coconut oil until just combined. Pour the mixture on to the set base and smooth out the top. Place in a fridge to set for at least 4-5 hours.

5 When ready to serve, remove the tart from the springform tin and place it on a large white plate. Liberally grate the chocolate over the tart and scatter with extra pecans.