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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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(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:

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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!

Food: Baking for the Mr’s arrival home

As Tom was coming back from his yearly stint working at a summer camp in America, I needed to give him a proper Welsh welcome home, and so I did 😉

in between working long ass shifts, the three days before he flew back, I wanted to make three things for his arrival, so I had to get organised. I wanted to make:

  • A Welshcake cheesecake,
  • Triple choc chip cookies, and…
  • Something for the first dinner back

For the cheesecake, I wanted to make truffles to adorn it, so first I infused double cream with some Welshcakes ( I had bought these, but next time I’ll probably make them myself) and the flavours of a welshcake, so some mixed spice went in there, too

After it had simmered and infused I strained it and combined with some of Willes 100% cacao and a good 80% Venezuelan dark chocolate to make the ganache. Pour and leave to set in a bowl.

-Next day-

I then rolled the ganache into bowls with a melon baller (It really works!) and laid them on a tray lined with baking silicone, (although baking parchment would also work).

Leave to set for a few hours, I left it overnight, then they will be ready to enrobe.

When fully set, I tempered a further 2 bars of 80% Venezuelan. Now, I usually use the method where you add in some of the chopped chocolate into the melted chocolate, but since I had recently bought a proper marble slab, I wanted to do it the traditional way.

coat the truffle balls, shake off the excess and leave to set on a tray.

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Now, for the cheesecake.

Now, I know A LOT of people are scared by the words ‘Baked Cheesecake’ but my homegrown method of ‘3,3,1’ seems to work, and I make a lot of cheesecakes 😉

Basically it’s 3 eggs, 3 packets of cream cheese and 1 tub of sour cream,  then your flavours accordingly – obviously don’t take the piss with the amount of liquid, but it should work.

For this one, coming home to Wales I wanted to make something very, well, WELSH – and nothing is Welsh’er than a Welshcake.

After I had made the biscuit base of crushed digestives and butter, and left to set int the fridge for 3 hours was time to make the batter.

To my usual mix i added a cupful of raisins soaked overnight in a mixture of black tea, and Pedro Ximénez sherry, lots of mixed spice, a crumbled packet of Welshcakes and a decent grating of nutmeg. Then put it into a preheated oven at 160c (fan) for 40-45 mins, then on 140 for 20 mins or so.

Checking halfway through it really seemed like it wasn’t going to work, as the filling was still uncooked in the centre. But I persevered and it did, Yipee!

After taking out and letting to cool on a rack for a couple of hours, place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, I did it overnight.

The next morning, un sheath your cake from its springform pan. The best way, Queen Nigella taught me, is to place it on top of a large can or something, unclip and slowly slide down. This is when you get the full moment of truth if things have worked, or not.

To place on top of the cake I put my now finished truffles and macerated, sliced strawberries, made with a splash of Żubrówka, mmm!

I placed it on my Iittala Kastehelmi cake platter, and hand printed a little sign for my Mr Jones.

The cookies I made by using this recipe. Its lush, I’d seriously recommend

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For the savoury bake I made a chicken and bacon pie – of which I’ll be posting about tomorrow for ye