Vegan & GF Christmas Cake


As you can see I haven’t been very active on the blog front lately.  It feels like our December has very quickly disappeared in between weekends away with themselves, catching up with friends and doing jobs around here preparing for visitors to stay.


The candy cane tree

That hasn’t stopped themselves though getting super excited about Christmas!  They have been writing loads of Christmas letter, making presents and wrapping up a storm.  They have even had a bit of animal tending thrown in as they found a baby bunny and a baby bird abandoned in the backyard.  However with all the cleaning, weeding, creating, caring, wrapping and writing I haven’t thought much about Christmas kai at all let alone a Christmas Cake! So here is a bit of a repeat recipe from last year (that we are going to make again tomorrow) to get your chops around 🙂


Feeding baby bird just before we put it outside (after it called its parents and they replied) where its parents came and continued to feed it until it got up the strength to fly away.

Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the couple of times I have baked it so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly 🙂  I have halved the recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner.  As with many GF vegan recipes the sooner the munching is completed the better … we stretched it to three days with success although day three wasn’t as yum as day one and two’s munching 🙂


As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 😉  I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.


So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 😉

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and who love you, enjoying each other.



A new vegan on the block


I can’t believe that a month has passed since I have been free enough, and with the tools,  to write on here again!  The main cause for the lack of posting has been a lack of a computer … though that isn’t really a good excuse …. however I have also been enjoying spending time being off line a bit more.  We’ve been making the most of the places and people around us.  In that time however there has been a shift in the dietary requirements of the bus.  No, himself hasn’t let go of veganism but rather has been joined by me in giving it a whirl.


Walking Te Ara Roa – Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay section.

It seemed like a bit of a natural progression really as while I was technically a pescatarian I didn’t eat much fish nor was I a huge fan of dairy due to the way it made me feel. Along with that was the fact that much of our meals are now vegan with a bit of meat, fish or eggs on the side.  While at the start of himself becoming a vegan there was much disgust at the thought that I should follow suit, the tide has changed and in fact I was getting repeated questions about why I didn’t just go vegan. After a bit of thinking and research – on vegan alcohol it has to be said! 😉 – along with a new book from the library I began my 3 week trial into the world of veganism.

I’m now into my fourth week and I have to say that it has been a fairly easy transition thanks to all the resources online and off which outline what is vegan and what’s not.  The hardest part so far is meeting up with the in-laws at their choice of restaurant which meant that only the hot chips and spring rolls were vegan due to them having pre-made all the salads with honey dressing and putting garlic butter over all the veggies.  It was an experience to say the least and definitely gave me a taste of my own medicine as when this has happened to himself in the past I have been quick to say ‘that’s fine .. it’s just one meal’, (trying not to make us seem even more ‘weird and hippy’ than they thought we were already) however when it is your ‘one meal’ it is a pretty dismal state of affairs! Lesson learnt.  Apologies given. Forgiveness accepted.


An interesting book I got out .. more about mindfulness than veganism

So  onward and upwards embracing Veganism as a way of eating for me.  I have to say I do feel much better on the digestion side of life as after meals I feel lighter even when I have eaten my fill and I am satisfied much longer after meals than before.   There was a few interesting changes in my sleep patterns to start with although as it was at bit of a stressful time (I was teaching Infant Massage and going for my truck licence in between times) it may not be all down to the change of diet. 😉  I guess only time will tell weather it will be my new way of eating … for now I am trying to be as mindful as I can about what is going into my mouth and the way that I am living.

I hope this finds you happy, healthy and exploring new things when the opportunity arises.




Vegan goodness


So our latest culinary challenge, sorry, adventure has been delving into the world of veganism as our youngest has decided that he is now Vegan.  He has always been a bit of a picky eater around meat and is constantly worried about animal welfare so it really didn’t come as a huge shock when he announced a month ago that he was vegetarian and then followed up a week later with ‘ I think I’ll give being a vegan a try.’


The last few pieces of our vegan shortbread.

It actually hasn’t been that bad and if anything it has been awesome not having him tempted by all the rubbishy chocolate treats that abound in every shop.  There are 2 main stumbling blocks I have hit so far though; 1) Eating out and 2) Baking.  Eating out is a bit of a mine field as it seems every thing is out on the children’s menu … have you noticed how every kid’s menu is deep fried meat of some description … and most things suitable on the adult menu are either too spicy or so expensive it makes us think twice. Thankfully we don’t eat out that much, the thought it takes is beyond my mental powers at the moment, and when we do venture out at least he is having a fairly healthy meal unlike before.

Which brings us to the second point ….. soooo many recipes rely on eggs (well the ones I currently make anyway) and even though we are pretty good at replacing the dairy it is taking me a while to get my head around using egg replacements (chia seeds and water is the main one I’m using at the moment).  I have been doing the research though to ensure that we get all the good bits into him and thanks to some great Vegan recipe books from the local library  I have found some great savoury and sweet baking ideas to keep everyone (well half of us to be honest) happy.  The one recipe that has been made the most so far is courtesy of Jennifer Katzinger’s Flying Apron Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Book.  This delicious ‘Vegan Shortbread’ (my name for it as I have returned the book and forgot the name sorry) is so easy and so delicious that I’m sure you’ll be whipping it up numerous times too.

flying apron

What I’m putting below is a half recipe of what is printed in the book as I found that was more than enough.  I also cut it into more squares than the recipe in the book indicates as we found it very rich and a little square of it was enough.  If you enjoy this recipe though I would recommend checking out the whole recipe book as has so many more delicious things to make. 😉

Vegan shortbread

  • 1 & 3/8 cups Rice Flour
  • a grind of salt
  • 1/2 Cup of coconut oil
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

– Preheat the oven to 190C (375F)

– Melt the coconut oil and then add the maple syrup

– Blend all the ingredients together.

– Pour and flatten the mixture into a baking paper lined baking dish

– Bake for 15 – 20 min or until the edges are slightly brown

– Remove from the oven and cut into squares while it is still warm in the tin

– Slide onto a cooling rack and break into separate pieces when it is fully cooled.

– Enjoy!

Well that is it from me on a cold and snow predicted evening. I hope this finds you all warm, healthy and enjoying life at whatever temperature you have it at. 😉