I don't just eat vegan cake and drink liqueur, but...

How long am I going to keep banging on about having a working oven? Well, the novelty's not worn off yet, sorry good folk of the internet, I just have to keep going on about it. Look at all the wonderful things you can make in an oven:

When you discover, courtesy of Fat Gay Vegan, that Whole Foods is stocking one of the best vegan cake ranges a vegan's ever put in their mouth, you know you've got to try it.

I can't remember what the one above is called, but it's basically a vegan lava cake. The packaging recommended microwaving the delicious goodies within, but I don't have one of them. You know what I do have? A WORKING OVEN! You're getting the idea now, I guess. A few minutes in a hot oven and there was an incredible chocolate lava cake, with all the sort of warm oozing middle and crisp outer you could ask for.

(Note the presence of a cake fork there too - a recent present from my mother in law. Cool huh? I don't know who thought the world needed a separate eating iron for dessert, but they're alright by me.)

Also from Lujuria Vegana, this (non-ovened) chocolate and hazelnut cake. Imagine the best Ferrero Rocher in the world, and you're half there.

London-based vegans, consider Lujuria Vegana a must-eat (is there such a thing as a must-eat? There is now if not). It's not cheap, but it's worth it. Fingers crossed Whole Foods put them in more stores.

On the homemade side of things this week, I've been attempting some liqueur making. Back when lychees were cheap, I bought a few bags and left them to steep in some vodka with some ginger and lime zest. I finally got around to decanting it and adding the sugar syrup recently.

It went this rather fetching pale peach-yellowy colour:

The flavour was pretty nice, but sadly too faint - I guess if I was making it again, I'd stick some extra lychees in, and bit less sugar. The recipe's here if you want to give it a go

The other thing I have to share with you is my first attempt at sourdough. Sourdough is a bread for the patient, and I am not one of them, more's the pity. But, when my rather kindly boss passed on some spare sourdough starter, I thought I should address my failings and get on with it.

Despite all the kneading proving (no pun intended) a bit too much like hard work, and the waiting hours for the dough to rise testing what little patience I possess, I was quietly impressed with the result. 

I used this recipe on the Guardian, and apart from an overly crusty exterior, it wasn't bad for a first try. Next up, I'm going to find a no-knead recipe!

And now, in an effort to prove I do eat other things that aren't a) bread b) cakes, here's a meal from the other day that was taken in dodgy light, but I'm going to try and pretend I've put a whack Instagram filter on (the broccoli wasn't really that colour, I promise you!)

Aside from the slightly wonky coloured broccoli, there's some butternut squash, spring onion, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and a load of gnocchi. (I'm having a gnocchi phase right now, I can't get enough down my gullet). There was also a load of lemon juice, parsley, and chilli in there, and it was wonderful - and not an oven in sight.

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  1. great food - I want it all and I want to eat it with a cake fork and be fancy - in particular those muffins look amazing - and that is exciting you have started sourdough baking. I have been baking sourdough bread for about 9 months and I still find it is mystery - tried dan lepard's method of 15-20 min kneading regular rather than lots of kneading in one session - great bread but I find it a fussier way to bake. However it seems that there are many ways of making sourdough and the best thing about it is that it is forgiving - you can leave it overnight to rise and bake it in the morning or put it in the fridge when you are busy.

  2. A working oven really is a luxury that is often taken for granted, so I for one am delighted to hear you truly appreciating this modern marvel! ;) Besides, a machine that can help you churn out cakes as luscious as that little chocolate lava number deserves all that praise, and then some.

  3. Oh but life should be cake and drink! The cupcake is also inviting! I am in admiration of your bread production, I am not so fortunate. ;)

  4. Wow, what a lot of good stuff! I'm especially envious of the chocolate lava cake. It's been so long since I've had one of those. I totally know what you mean about the happiness that comes along with a working oven. After things break, you feel that much more grateful to have them working again.

  5. I've never heard of Lava cake, it sounds amazing. I wish we had a Wholefoods in Manchester. Might not be good for my bank balance though. I'm a big fan of cake forks. I've got two different sets and I swear things taste better with one :) The liqueur is interesting. I used to make a lot of liqueurs but am out of the habit. Maybe it's something I need to get back into.

  6. I'm sorry to say that the Whole Foods markets I frequent in the northeast USA have no inspiring new vegan things of late (and their own branded travesties are unchanged in the decade plus I've been shopping there). Lava cake was one of my most fave pregan desserts, so please have one for me! In the meantime, I'll have a lychee martini in your honor.

    1. PS my grandma had a few of those forks & I haven't seen them in ages! Will check my mom's drawer next time I'm there.

  7. Whoa to all of this.
    You Brits and yr proper silverware! (I've been watching a lot of Downton Abbey recently and they're big on it...) I could and do eat most cake at home with me hands! Well, maybe not cakes with hot delicious lava inside. That could get painful.

  8. Those cakes look lovely! Is it just the Whole Foods in Kensington that stock them, or do you know if other branches do too? The one in Piccadilly is much easier for me to get to...and I'd love to try their cakes!

  9. A working oven is not something to ever get tired of — keep on celebrating! As for easy sourdough bread, try the ones from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/user/BreadIn5 Once you get the no-knead dough mixed up and rested, it really is so easy, and it works great.

  10. You can send me some lychee liqueur anytime. Faint or no! I'm jealous of the lychees you have access to across the pond. I've gotten them here a few times, but they're not as plentiful or good as the lychees we devoured in Europe!

  11. Vegan Lava cakes, look at that oooooze! Lychee liqueur…that sounds lovely, I would drink it right away and I love making asian fruity liqueurs, esp that Buddha's Hand and Vodka.


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