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Chocolate & Mint Cupcakes

27 Sep

Mint topped Chocolate Cupcakes

After a week of cooking vegan staples such as veg curry & pad thai (recipes coming) I needed an ickle challenge so set about making some chocolate fairy cakes (I know the world now prefers to call them ‘cupcakes’ but fairy cakes they will forever be to me).

These were, frankly, the finest little cakes I’ve made thus far, I topped them off with my favourite mint icing.

Music accompaniment today has been of the Balkan Nu Swing variety, mainly this mix courtesy of DJ Baltic Balkan.

Chocolate & Mint Cupcakes

Makes 12 cakes

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • 1/4 cup regular cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons black cocoa powder (UnDutched / Unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened Soy Milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Cake Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF (Gas mark 4, though I highly recommend a Celsius & Fahrenheit reading oven thermometer for baking you can find them here) and line a 12 part cake tin with paper cupcake cases, line the cases with a little canola oil to prevent sticking.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl sift flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, salt & baking soda.
  3. Using a second mixing bowl combine the soy milk, canola oil, maple syrup, sugar, Cyder vinegar and vanilla. Whisk together for 3-4 minutes until well combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet and beat for about another minute to combine. fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full and bake for about 25-30 minutes. remove from oven and allow to cool.

Mint icing ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup non hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1 tablespoon soy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 drop green food coloring

Icing Method

  1. In a small-medium mixing bowl & at room temperature, use a fork to cream the solid shortening then add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the soy cream and mix together then add 1 further cup of the powdered sugar and continue until all the powdered sugar has been added and is well mixed.
  2. Add Vanilla Essence and Mint Extract and mix well.
  3. Finally add the green food colouring and mix until colour is evenly distributed through the mix (use a little more for a darker green colour).

Frosting the cakes:

Use a piping bag with a larger star tip to frost the cupcakes.

I added a little of my homemade & tempered chocolate sauce to this but choc chips or edible glitter would also work a treat.

Enjoy these tasty morsels!


A Sunday Breakfast w/Potato Scones & Veggie Sausage

12 Sep

Waking up early on a Sunday is a rare occurrence, especially for me, I celebrated this morning’s early rise by making a variation of a  full Scottish breakfast with Potato Scones & Veggie Sausage made from scratch, oooh check me! I left veggie bacon out of this one, but plan to try making this from scratch at some point.

Was listening to Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs while I cooked & Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen as we ate. I share in case you care.

Here’s my method:

A Sunday Breakfast

Serves 2

Potato Scones rolled

Potato Scones


  • 350g Mashed Potato
  • 150g Plain Flour (white or wholemeal)
  • 25g Vegan/Soy Margarine
  • 4 Tablespoons of Cooking Oil
  • Salt
  1. Mix flour, Margarine & Potato in a large bowl, try to ensure mix doesn’t become too dry
  2. Empty mixture onto a flat surface and roll flat (to a height of no more than 0.5cm) cut into triangles (if mixture is particularly sticky pop scones into a medium hot oven for 5-10 mins)
  3. Cook Scones in a frying pan or on a griddle, around 2 minutes each side, or until golden.
  4. Serve

TVP 'Sausages'


  • 125g TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein, you can make this yourself or buy dried at health food shops)
  • To make TVP from scratch you’ll need Soy Beans or Chickpeas (dried, not from cans) which weigh 125g when cooked + 15g plain flour & 1/4 tablespoon Tumeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  • Cold water
  • Cooking Oil


  1. If making TVP from scratch soak beans overnight ready to cook. When cooked, drain & cool then preheat the oven to a medium/low heat. Process the beans until smooth, but still with little chucks. Spread the mixture over the baking trays and put in the middle of the oven. Every 15 minutes remove from the oven & mix up the mixture & spread back out to toast evenly. It may take 30-45 mins but remove from oven when fairly toasted all over. To use let cool and add enough cold water to make the mix sticky then add flour & tumeric.
  2. If using shop bought TVP regenerate as per instructions (normally 1 cup water to 1 cup TVP)
  3. Add thyme to TVP
  4. Shape into Sausage shapes
  5. Fry in cooking oil (alternatively coat in a little oil and grill).
  6. Serve

Cherry Tomato & Mushroom mix

Tomato, Mushroom Mix


  • 6 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 6 Medium closed cup Mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 small White Onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed Herbs
  • Salt (pinch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy Margarine
  • Cooking Oil
  1. Cook onions in oil until partially cooked (not quite translucent).
  2. Add all other ingredients and cook until mushrooms (stirring constantly) are soft & edible.
  3. Serve

We had all of this with canned baked beans, which were the only thing not homemade. One day I’ll attempt the 1hr it takes to create your own,  a day when I’ve too much time to kill, for now the 30p for a can was no biggie.

Chick Pea and Potato Curried Stew

11 Sep
Chick Pea and Potato curried stew w/Chapati

Chickpea and Potato curried stew w/Mrs Unis' Chapati

2 posts in one day, I must have time on my hands. This evening’s dinner was another with a middle-eastern flavour and was thrown together from what we had hanging around the cupboards. I was listening to some bastard pop mash ups courtesy of Go Home Productions‘ Mark Viddler while I cooked, if you’re interested.

This is a hearty stew and is equally good reheated, keep a close eye while cooking and keep the heat low as the stew can burn to the bottom of the pot, I had a close call with this one. Otherwise this is an easy dish to prepare & one you can have with either a light bread or rice + a big glass of water to catch the burn from the hot pepper.

Chick Pea & Potato Curried Stew

Serves 2 – 4


  • 2 1/2 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tins cooked chickpeas
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes,
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1/2 minced jalapeño pepper,
  • 5 medium sized potatoes diced (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 1 medium chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs


  1. Cook onion in oil in a large saucepan until translucent
  2. Combine all other ingredients and add to the pot, pouring Vegetable Stock on last & keeping back 1/4 of the mixed herbs
  3. Cook over a medium heat stirring to mix
  4. Take 1/5 of the broth of the stew as it cooks, leave it to cool & give a few pulses in a blender to thicken then and add back to the pot (if you are very careful you could use a hand blender in the pot as the stew cooks, but I’m far too clumsy for such activities)
  5. Simmer on a med to low heat for 35 minutes or until potato is cooked through (keep a regular check to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn to the pan.
  6. Serve, sprinkling remaining herbs as garnish, eat with rice or bread (we had shop bought Chapatis)

This has a bit of a spice to it, but the Jalapeño can be excluded, if preferred. Keep an eye during cooking as chick peas can burn to the pan.

Mrs Unis Chapatis, Vegan & made in Edinburgh

Stew in the pot

Moroccan Style Couscous Salad

11 Sep

This afternoon’s vegan lunchtime adventure was soundtracked by Kid Dynamite’s Self Titled album & inspired by / adapted from a recipe in the Vegan Planet cook book.

Here goes:

Moroccan Style Couscous

Serves 2-4


  • 125 ml Safflower Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 375g Cooked Couscous
  • 400ml Vegetable Stock
  • 100ml Orange Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon peanut butter (pref smooth)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 small White Onion, chopped v.finely
  • 1 small Green Bell Pepper, cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 1 small Yellow Bell Pepper, ”    ”  ”     ”      ”    “
  • 1 cup Raisins


  1. Cook Couscous, as per instructions in a medium saucepan. Lower heat when cooked & fluffy.
  2. Add a quarter of the Safflower Oil and mix through, then add Cayenne, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cumin & Tumeric, mix through with a wooden spoon and cook on a medium heat until couscous is fragrant (1-2mins), be careful not to burn Couscous, or let it sick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir in Vegetable Stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a low heat until liquid is fully absorbed (around 5 mins), then remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate small pan heat half of the remaining oil and cook the onion for around 2 minutes, add  the bell peppers and cook for 1 further minute and add to the couscous.
  5. In a small bowl combine remaining Oil & Peanut Butter mix with a fork until loosely combined, then add Orange Juice, Brown Sugar & pinch of Salt.
  6. Add Raisins to Couscous, then mix in the Oil mixture / dressing and toss the mixture gently to combine the ingredients.
  7. Serve.