Maybe "vegetablearian" sounds like a vegetarian recipe blog to some people. It was originally what a school friend called me when she forgot the word for vegetarian. Living up to my handle, here are some vegan recipes:
- Victoria Sponge
This is a simple and fun recipe. If you measure out the icing ingredients at the same time as the cake ingredients, it's so fast.
- 100g marge (I use vitalite)
- 150g sugar
- splash of vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 200g apple puree (I use clearspring)
- 150g water
- 200g wholemeal bread flour (this is what I tested the recipe with lmao! you can use cakier flour, might need an extra spoonful or 2 for the liquid content. If you're the kind of sensible person who reads the whole recipe first, you could also use less water.)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarb
Butter two cake tins and preheat oven to 160c fan
In a large bowl, combine:
Cream the butter and sugar
Stir the liquids in. It splits a bit, but don't worry.
Make sure the oven is to temperature before adding the last ingredients:
Stir the flour and powders in until it's combined. Pour half into each tin and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool in tins
- 50g marge (I use vitalite)
- 125g sugar (I use the same granulated sugar as for the cake. Feel free to use icing sugar if eg you have weak arms, don't like to feel your icing crunch between your teeth, or your father owns an icing sugar mine.)
- splash of vanilla extract
Whilst it's baking, make icing!
Cream together for 10 minutes. Scientifically, you have to eat at least half the cake just to replenish your energy after this.
- Turn your cooled cakes out onto plates, middle sides up
- Spread one half with icing and the other with jam/compote. Icing or jam first is your choice!
- Say a prayer and sandwich your sponges together (don't worry, you can adjust them by a few cm if you miss)
- Dust the top with icing sugar. You did it! Enjoy!
- Shortcrust Pastry
Shortcrust is nothing to be scared of and never worth buying. I have pastry fingers (cold hands, warm heart!) and I can roll fine crumbs from spreadable margarine, but it doesn't cook properly due to the water content. This recipe is designed for spreadable margarine and is even easier than with butter, and comes out nearly as flaky for absolutely no effort.
- 125g marge (I use vitalite)
- 15ml water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 25g flour
- 200g flour
- 125g icing sugar or 30g granulated sugar (optional!)
Ideally, make this about an hour before you want to use it. You can use it sooner, though it might behave less well when you're rolling it out, and it lasts a few days so long as it's in the fridge and covered. No need for cling film - I put mine in a small bowl with a plate on top, and it takes over 24 hours to start drying out.
In a large bowl, combine:
Mix until it seems homogenous. It's just going to look like stiffened margarine. Then add:
Before you mix, if you want sweet or semi-sweet shortcrust, also add:
Mix with your spoon until it starts to come together. The sweet pastry doesn't come together as well at this stage, but it doesn't matter.
Get ready to store the pastry in the fridge. Then use your hands to bring the pastry together into a ball. You can't overwork this pastry with your hands, or not easily. So use it to clean the sides of the mixing bowl and get all the scraps, too.
If it's easier for you, you can measure out 225g flour and just put about 2 tbsp in to make the paste. This is most sensible if you're sieving your flour, so you don't have to sift twice. Sieving your flour is generally sensible too... but this pastry is mostly fine without it, so I rarely bother.
- Jam Tart
All you need is some shortcrust (I prefer semi-sweet for this recipe) and a jar of jam to make something so tasty and pretty! (Technically you need a pie dish, too... but you could use a tray if you form it like a galette, and just roll the edges back over the jam.)
Get your pastry out of the fridge. If your oven takes a long time to come to temperature, preheat it now to fan 160C - if it takes about 5 minutes or less, you can wait until you've rolled out the pastry.
Flour the board and roll the pastry out until it's big enough for the dish. (Turn on the oven now, if you didn't before.) Carefully lift the pastry in, press in the corners, and remove any overhang. I neaten up the edges by gently crimping them with my thumb. I also check I rolled the pastry evenly by holding my glass dish up to the light and filling in any transparent spots.
Fill the tart with a layer of jam of your choice (leaving a roughly 1cm gap of crust at the top), and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp but not burnt.
Let it cool before slicing and especially eating! Jam boils in the oven.
If you made a pie and not a galette, you could roll it out and make a mini galette with the leftover pastry (remove at 15-20 minutes), or... use it to make an Epiphany Tart! Traditionally served on, you guessed it, Epiphany, but it's fun any time of year. Shape the offcuts to make a six-pointed star inside the tart (two overlapping triangles). This creates 13 little wells for, ideally, 13 flavours of jam. (Traditionally, this is Jesus and the Apostles.) It's fun even with fewer, though, and even with only one flavour of jam, it's attractive. I also prefer the pastry-jam ratio - more like what it is with individual jam tarts.
Bake for the same time as a plain jam tart (mind the thickness of the pastry under the star, but the heat of the jam does help it cook through).
If your pastry, especially the star of the Epiphany tart, looks kind of clumsy, don't worry about it. It tastes the same and an obviously-handmade appearance has its own charm. I spend a lot of my time baking insistently muttering the word 'rustic' to myself under my breath. Besides, nobody's going to complain when you're the one with the boiling jam, near the sharp knives...