Food: Raw vegan ‘semlor’

As it’s semlor season here in Sweden for Fettisdagen, or ‘Fat Tuesday’, when these buns are traditionally eaten before lent. The traditional semla is a cardamom- enriched bun with homemade marzipan, called ‘mandelmassa’ and plenty of whipped cream. For this raw vegan version, I’ve decided to use persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit in place of the bun. I was going to use peaches, but they seem to be impossible to get at the moment, not being in season.  As I’ve used persimmon, I decided to top it with a bit of matcha powder, a nod to the asian heritage of the fruit,


Makes 6 mini semlor bites

To make you’ll need:

  • 3 persimmon/ kaki/ Sharon fruit
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp almond oil
  • 1 shot of amaretto (optional- don’t use if want to make it totally raw vegan)
  • 2 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 1tbs matcha powder, to top

For the mandelmassa:

  • 150g soaked almonds
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 1-2 tbs water

For the coconut & cardamom cream:

  • The ‘cream’ from 2 tins of full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbs raw agave syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ fresh vanilla bean


Start the night before by making up the syrup. Mix the water with the almond oil, agave and cardamom. I also added in some Amaretto, in the spirit of the decadance of a semla bun, but by all means, take it out.  3 big persimmon will make 6 mini semlor buns. To make them, I’d recommend slicing each fruit into 4 equal pieces and cutting out the middle with a round cookie-cutter. This should leave you with a top and bottom bun for each ‘semla’. If there is any lefover persimmon, simply chop it up and keep in the fridge, it’s a great addition to any curry or jerk recipe. De-leaf the top and place into a shallow dish. Once you have done this with all 3 fruits, cover with the syrup. This should soak up all those cardamom & almond flavours of the syrup. Leave overnight.

The next day, turn the persimmon buns in the syrup and make the mandelmassa. I used the recipe off this blog  to make it, but essentially, de-skin the almonds and blend it up with the coconut sugar in a food processor, adding a teaspoon or two of water to bind.


To make the cardamom cream, spoon out the coconut cream portion of 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk into a bowl, adding the ground cardamom, agave and vanilla bean paste. Whip up into a thick and aromatic cream.


When you’re ready to assemble your mini persimmon semla, take them out of the syrup and pat dry. roll a little ball of the mandelmassa and squish into the palm of your hands. Top the bottom of the buns with the disk of mandelmassa. Next, spoon on about a tablespoon of the cream. Top with the ‘top bun’ of persimmon and dust with some matcha powder.




Drink: Kladdkaka cocktail

This week in Sweden it was kladdkakans dag, which is a day for the unctuously good gooey chocolate cake, called a kladdkaka (sticky cake), like a Swedish brownie. I wanted to do a vegan version, but instead of just re-creating the cake, I’ve used it as inspiration for a cocktail.

Serves 2

To make you’ll need:

  • Handful of lightly burned oats, soaking in 100ml water
  • 100ml of leftover coffee, I like to use what’s leftover in my French-Press, (so for this I used Coaltown Coffee’s Black Gold No.3)
  • 400ml oat milk, I used Oatly
  • 1tbs cocoa, sifted
  • 50g good quality chocolate (at least 70%), melted, I used Svenska Kakaobolaget
  • 3 shots of Vodka, I used Stoli
  • 1tbs vanilla sugar
  • Ice


  • Vegan whipped cream
  • Pinch of cocoa

Start by placing your oats in a pan and toasting them on low. Rather than letting them go golden brown, you need to take it just a bit further so they start to burn, not too much however. You need the nutty-bitterness that will be imbued in the liquid. Take off the heat, place into a bowl and pour in the water. Let the oats soak until they make the water a golden hue. like the picture below:


FullSizeRender (3)


After this, leave it to cool. When ready, strain the liquid through a sieve and place the golden liquid in a separate bowl. Now, take your melted chocolate and whisk that into the liquid, before adding in the cocoa, whisking thoroughly. Then add in the vanilla sugar.


In your cocktail shaker, place the chocolatey mixture, along with the cold coffee, oat milk and your 3 shots of vodka over the ice. Shake vigorously and serve in a tall glass. Top with some vegan whipped cream and a sifting of cacao.




Food: Lime & lavender marmalade

As I mentioned in my previous recipe of my raspberry limemade, I still had a surplus of limes, that needed using. The solution: this delicious & floral marmalade. Great in porridge, on toast or atop a decadent cheesecake and so simple to make!

To make you’ll need:

  • 8 limes, sliced thinly
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 400g sugar
  • 600ml water
  • 1tbs dried lavender

Start by placing the lime juice, sugar and water in a pan. The sugar should start dissolving in the acid of the lime juice. Place on the hob and turn the heat up high. Now, start slicing the limes up thin, by using a mandolin. Make sure you use the safety guard provided with the mandolin as otherwise, it’s a guaranteed trip to the emergency room, for you.  After you’ve sliced up the fruits, drop them into the now bubbling water and cook on a simmer for 40 minutes. During the last 10 minutes sprinkle the dried lavender and stir, so it disperses evenly.  Set aside and leave to cool slightly before pouring into your chosen bowl/ jar. The pectin in the pith and flesh should help set the marmalade overnight.


Food: Peaches with apricot, cardamom & lemon fraîche

Here’s a quick recipe for a dessert perfect for cooling down in the Summer sun.  The flavours also give a taste of the exotic, so even if you’re stuck at home, you can feel like you’re on holiday

Serves 2

You’ll need:

  • 4 peaches ( I used doughnut peaches as they are in season)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 shot of lemon vodka (optional)
  • 2tbs sesame seeds, toasted

Apricot fraîche:

  • 1/2 tub of vegan crème fraîche/ yogurt ( I used Oatly fraîche)
  • 2tbs icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 apricots, chopped finely
  • 1tbs ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Squeeze of lemon juice


Start by making the fraîche. Add all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix throughly. You can either then place it in the fridge to firm or do as I did and use the freezer. It will start to create a slightly frozen texture, like a semi-freddo.

Whilst it’s in the fridge/freezer you can prep the peaches. Cut them in half and de-stone. This is usually a messy job, so I tried to keep it intact by poking the stone through the other side. once this is done, heat up a pan on a medium heat. Place the peach halves in the pan, flesh down. cook until they begin to colour. Flip and cook for a few minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over them and sprinkle them with the lemon zest. Take them out of the pan and place them into the serving bowls. This in an optional step, but I like pouring a shot of lemon vodka on them too! Take the fraîche out and dollop it on top. Finish with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. I’d recommend you pair it with a Tokaji wine.




Food: Oatsicles

We may well have had our fill of sunshine for the year already, but on the off chance that there is more sunshine to come here’s a quick and easy recipe for a dairy free alternative ice lolly for keeping cool in the sun.


You’ll need:

  • Lolly moulds,
  • 1 carton of chocolate Oatly,
  • 1 banana.


Chop the banana into slices and fill the lolly moulds. Don’t pack them in too tight, you need to leave enough space for the chocolate drink. Pour in the drink to the brim, stick the lids/handles in firmly and leave in the freezer for a good couple of hours or overnight if possible. One carton can easily make between 6 – 8 lollies, depending on the amount of banana you use and the size of your moulds. I used the small ones from Lidl. The creaminess of the chocolate drink combined with the fudginess of the banana are a fantastic (and cheap) alternative to the usual sugary lollies. This way you can control their sugar intake with natural ingredients!

It also works great with other flavours of Oatly like Orange & Mango, or for a grownup take on the above recipe, mix some coffee into the chocolate Oatly mixture for an iced mocha lolly!




Food: Top 5 Vegan Easter eggs

With Veganism & people following a plant based diet growing, the selection of Easter treats has also grown to accomodate. Last year, results from a survey came out saying that the number of vegans in Britain had grown 360% in 10 years! Here are my picks for the top 5 Easter eggs this year:

For a great milk choc alternative:


Tesco Finest Free From Caramel Egg With Truffles, £4

This caramel flavoured milk choc egg, made with rice flour is great gift to give someone (or yourself ;)) this Easter. The beautiful box contains 3 fondant truffles, as well!

Available from most Tesco’s or online

All the small things:


The Little Vegan Bakery Vegan Creme Egg, £1.89

Easter is synonymous with Creme Eggs, and just because you’re vegan, doesnt mean you have to miss out! These little morsels of ooey-gooey goodness are great to snack on whilst the Easter lunch is in the oven. Remember to stock up though, as they are very popular!

Available at Brontosaurus Vegan, Swansea Market or contact TLVB at their Facebook page here.

For the Gourmet:



Hotel Chocolat Hard-Boiled Easter Egg – Ginger 70%, £15

This deep, dark chocolate made with Indian ginger oil and studded with hazelnuts is a decadent tour de force. The chocolate is very rich, meaning you wont need a lot of it to get that chocolate fix, and at £15, makes the purchase more economical. It even has little crystallised ginger & hazelnut ‘crunches’ for you to nibble on.

Available at your nearest Hotel Chocolat, or online.

For the Kids:


(photo taken from here)

Sainsbury’s Freefrom White Choc Egg, 

A great white chocolate alternative, this is sure to make your kids beam with delight! Comes with buttons for a double-whammy of vegan white chocolate treats. Creamy and sweet, it’s hard to tell the difference between this and Milkybar!

Available at local Sainsbury’s, or online.

For something Different:


Booja-Booja truffle eggs,various flavours, from £9.95

For something a little different to the usual Easter egg, why not splash out and get yourself a Booja-Booja Easter egg, filled with their award-winning truffles, tissue wrapped and encased in a special shell. The shell, alone is worth buying, handmade & painted by artists in Kashmir. Each one unique, the egg shell can be kept for years and re-purposed into a momento box etc.

Available from Brontosaurus Vegan, Swansea Market & So Cocoa, Mumbles

Have an egg-cellent Easter everyone!

Drink: Semla Shake

Here’s a great recipe for fettisdagen (the Swedish Mardi Gras). It has all the flavours of semla buns, but none of the time-consuming process of proving and kneading. However, if you’re game for all that, then by all means this cocktail would be amazing paired with the decadent buns! You can omit the custard if you want, but it gives another dimension to the cocktail and hey, it is for Fat Tuesday, after all!

To make, you’ll need:

  • 1 Whole carton of Oatly milk/ unsweetened unroasted almond milk
  • 2 Scoops of Swedish Glace (Tofu Line) vanilla Ice cream
  • 3 Shots of Amaretto
  • 2 Shots of vanilla vodka (I used ABSOLUT, naturally)
  • 1⁄2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 2tbs Oatly custard

To finish:

  • Soy whip
  • Cake crumbs

To make, put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz up until they make a sweet, aromatic cardamom laced cocktail. Get your glasses, in my case a vintage milk bottle, and fill with the mix. Top with some soy whipped cream, but be wary that it doesn’t sink, as it doesn’t behave exactly the way dairy cream does, it’s also a bit heavier.

Garnish with cake crumbs, vegan in my case, left over from a delicious Naturally Kind Food slice and you’re done!