Croissants, courgette cakes and cauliflowers from outer space

What no MoFo? Sadly, I'm not doing the Vegan Month of Food this month due to my ongoing exam preparation hell. Still, I am gorging on all the other wonderful blogs out there and will be back for MoFo next year.

In the meantime, I really have been eating properly, I promise. It's just that everything I've been taking photos seems to involve baked goods. It's not because I've just been stuffing myself with pastry and cake, but more that the everyday stuff I've been cooking tends to be one pot meals, quick to make, quick to eat, so I'm only taking minimum time out to hit the books. Given my food of late has been all about function rather than form, I didn't bother getting the camera out.

Yet, when I see a finely turned out pain au chocolat, I have to reach for the camera to share the baked wonder with you. Like these little beauties - I salute Jus Rol's fine work on this front. You've got love vegan-friendly bake at home croissants that you can pick up in your local supermarket.

And when I saw a new type of vegan friendly ice cream on a recent resupply mission to the Japan Centre, I decided I had to give it a try - meet Yi, a coconut milk based ice cream. It comes in a fair few interesting flavours, including this one - coconut and wasabi ripple.

I can't tell you if the inclusion of wasabi was a good or bad thing, as there wasn't a huge amount of it in there. The result, then, was a nice but unsurprising coconut ice cream. While it's good to see a new vegan ice cream on the market, if you were looking for a tasty coconut milk gelato, I think I'd point you in the direction of ZenZen, whose maple, pecan and banana efforts are rocking my world right now.

It's not all ready-made stuff sweet treats chez Flicking the Vs though - despite the never-ending slog of revision, I have managed to get back into the kitchen to do some cooking of my own (though yeah, I have been letting ZenZen provide a meal or two!).

Andrea of Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking opened my eyes a while back to the possibilities of putting vegetables into cakes and I've taken that particular ball and run with it. Into a big cakey end zone. Repeatedly. First it was sweet potato brownies, and now it's courgette cake loaves.

I discovered this vegan courgette cake recipe not so long ago and now I feel like an evangelist for it. I sort of want to stop people on the street and say, 'dude, did you know that we've been living in a world where this cake exists all this time, and we've only just found it? I know, right? Quick, run home and make one now'.

I made this one with a lime drizzle. It didn't taste overly courgettey (or courgettey at all, in fact) but the strands of zucchini made it really rich and moist. Plus I can get one of my five a day from a slice of cake, so that can only be a good thing. (I know, I know...)

Related exits from my oven of late included some banana muffins. I had a single banana that was on the turn, and after a quick Google, turned up this rather nice recipe for vegan banana nut muffins for two.

I think an oft-overlooked benefit of vegan baking is how scaleable it is. Most omni cake recipes are governed by the number of eggs involved, because hey, who wants to use half an egg? So most recipes tend to make a family sized cake. Vegan baking, because it has not of the grimness and relies on things that are measured by the gramme, can be scaled up or down as you need. In this case, scaled down to make just two muffins - one went to me, one to Mr Flicking the Vs.

The brown goo inside is ready-made vegan salt caramel sauce, a kind gift from a friend.

Just to prove that I haven't only been eating food whose main constituent is sugar, behold, a big plate of soup. I tried to fancy it up for you by drizzling some olive oil on top, but it kind of looks more like a snail's climbed over the top of it!

Still, it tasted amazing, and was mostly made of leftovers so cheap too! I made some carrot and swede mash as a side dish for Sunday lunch had a truck still left once we'd finished our meal. The next day I boiled up some split dried fava beans, added home made stock and garlic, and dumped in the spare mash.

The result was astonishingly good - creamy and comforting. I was surprised at how well it turned out, and had to check it was good all the way through by eating a second bowl. (It was.)

Another non-sweet item that made its way into my kitchen was this bold, beautiful cauliflower. I admit it, I bought it for the colour alone. I love caulis, but this one was calling to me more than the others - what a great look. There were orange and white versions at the market, but I just couldn't say no to this gem.

It made an honourable cauliflower cheese (vegan cheese, obvs) with some cherry tomatoes. It didn't taste any different to standard caulis, but it didn't make me feel like I was eating alien trees for dinner - what's not to love?

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  1. Salt caramel sauce! Where did your friend get that?! Or did they make it. If you can buy that somewhere, I'm on it!! I haven't tried Yi or Zenzen, they started selling little tubs of Yi in the health food shop near my office...but it's quite expensive for a tiny pot so I haven't bought any. I'm too busy making coconut milk ice cream at home these days! The courgette bread looks really nice! I like the idea of five a day cake ;)

  2. For some reason I thought that Yi was only available in Scotland! Hope I can find it in Manchester. I'm impressed you're managing to bake and revise too. Keep up the good work!

  3. I love purple cauli but then worry I don't give the purple centre stage as I should! I have been baking chocolate zucchini cake recently (coming up in my vegan mofo posts) so I am all for zucchini in cakes. Glad to see you have plenty of sugar to get you through the exam period - ha ha - seriously wishing you good luck with the exams -shame you are not doing vegan mofo but sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, hey?

  4. Oh my gosh! Loving the limey zucchini bread, but super wow to the croissant. So jealous. I have yet to taste a vegan one!
    Very interesting ice cream flavor... there is one here that I like lately, it's scotch + chocolate flavored!

  5. It's very exciting to see not only a new brand of vegan ice cream, but one so willing to take a risk with flavor choices! Maybe this one fell a bit short of its promise, but it makes me hopeful for the future. I wish I could get a taste for myself, as it's so very intriguing.

  6. I love your guest post on The Vegan Word blog, Budapest is a lovely city and I miss their fried Hungarian pancakes! Wishing you best of luck on your upcoming exams, and let me know how they go! I’m not VeganMofo-ing on the blog as well, only via Instagram, which is easier for me to say a few sentences and caption this photo. I’m so happy to know that you’re eating properly, I’ve been trying to do the same! This vegan courgette cake looks delicious with the drizzle, yum and I like that there’s a vegan salt caramel sauce in your muffins…I would dig that! Purple cauliflower, I haven’t seen them yet…

  7. awww.. i love the limey zucchini bread! I totally crave it right now!

  8. Hope your exam preparations are going well. If you're putting zucchini into baked goods that makes it okay - you're getting your veggie in. And with the lime drizzle, you're getting vitamin C too. Right? :-)


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