I made delicious smoking bishop mulled wine last night, so am once again blessed with about a kilo of boozy clementines. I amheading to Manchester tomorrow to stay with a lovely vegan friend and meet up with another, so decided to pester another friend – joolzrainbow.wordpress.com – for advice about egg substitutes to cakify some of the fruit for them. I love cooking savoury meals for vegans because they are such cheap dates, and so easily impressed with anything cooked for them that isn’t chili or curry, but have previously had disappointing results with began baking.
These worked beautifully. They are deliciously fragrant with a very light, moist texture. The lightness is definitely due to the baking powder and bicarb, but the salty, chalky flavour they can impart is completely masked by the intensity fruit and spices. The texture is more like a very light spionge pudding than a cake, but they certainly don’t feel or taste lacking in any way.
I’ve been effectively vegetarian for brief period of my life – once for a bet, more often for convenience – but I could NEVER be vegan. I’d sooner be celibate than cheeseless.
Brandy- caramelised Walnuts
24 walnut halves
2 heaped dessertspoons of dark muscovado sugar
a good glug of cheap brandy
Mulled Wine Cakes
(makes 24 small cakes)
250g squishey, winey citrus fruits
250g soft brown sugar
250g coconut oil
half a nutmeg, grated
a teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger
6 tablespoons of soya milk
3 teaspoons of cider vinegar
50g good quality glace citrus peel or the zest of an orange
350g plain flour
a heaped teaspoon each of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
First, smoke your bishop (see last Christmas for details) or use your preferred method for mulling wine with citrus fruits. If you’ve made smoking bishop, the fruits will be lovely and tender, otherwise you may need to simmer them till they are tender, or put them in a medium oven for twenty minutes or so. Let them cool before proceeding.
Preheat your oven to 180. Put the fruit, sugar, oil (microwave it for ten to 20 seconds if it is very hard, and check the label very carefully if your coconut oil is in a similar jar to your goose fat), soya milk, vinegar and spices into a bowl. Blitz them together for a few seconds with a hand blender on a medium speed setting. If you don’t have such a thing, you could chop the fruit very very finely and blend the ingredients by hand. Stir in the peel or zest. Sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarb and beat thoroughly. Put a heaped dessert-spoonful in each case, then stir with a skewer to even up and flatten the mixture.
Dot a walnut half on the top of each. If your kitchen is very cold the caramel in the pan may harden too much to shift the walnuts; if so simply warm it on a low heat for a second and they will budge. Bake for twenty minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. I have only just made them, but suspect they will be better tomorrow than today, and am sure they would freeze beautifully. Microwaved for thirty seconds and smothered with cream, ice cream or custard they would make a delicious dessert. Obviously, I mean vegan cream, ice cream or custard.