Recipe: Vegan Bakewell Slices

My sister found a recipe on a vegan Facebook group for bakewell slices that she wanted to try so we went to our local supermarket to have a go at baking it ourselves! We adjusted the recipe slightly to accommodate our tastes. I also made it for the bake-off we are holding at work which were a hit!

The first time round, we made it with a shop-bought ready made short crust pastry which was nice and easy. The blind bake was a little more difficult, only because we didn’t have the tools we needed but we made it work!

The second time round, I found a short-crust pastry recipe online which I used, which you can find here. It was a little bit more effort with the manual labour but it was the same.

Ingredients for the Frangipane Mix

  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 130g ground almonds
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  • 130ml vegetable oil
  • 50ml plant milk
  • 1tsp almond extract

Other Ingredients

  • Pastry ingredients/Ready-made pastry
  • Icing sugar
  • Flaked almonds and/or cherries for topping
  • Raspberry jam

Steps

  1. Line your baking tin with your pastry (ready-made or from scratch). If you have a loose bottomed tin, you won’t need to line your tin with parchment paper, but if you don’t then I highly recommend it!
  2. Blind bake this as instructed.
  3. Mix the frangipane ingredients in a bowl. If it seems a little dry, add a bit more plant milk.
  4. When your pastry is baked and taken out of the oven, let it cool.
  5. Spread jam along the bottom of the pastry to your taste. I personally like a thick layer.
  6. Put the frangipane mix on top of the jam.
  7. Bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven and let it cool completely!
  9. Mix icing as per instructions on the packet.
  10. Pour over the bake as evenly as you can.
  11. Spread flaked almonds over the top to set in the icing.
  12. Let the icing harden before eating!

The bake went down a treat at work and everyone enjoyed it! It came out much better than I anticipated, but I do wish I had lined the bottom with more jam!

I took some home for Tom and he was impressed! I’ll definitely be making it again in the future.

If you try out the recipe, make sure you share your photos and I hope you enjoy!

Castellamare Cafe in Mumbles, Swansea

Castellamare is located right on Bracelet Bay in the Mumbles in Swansea. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the beautiful area of Swansea, South Wales, you’re truly missing out.

Swansea is a truly beautiful part of Britain and the world. There are stunning views across the bay and to the ocean, and the Welsh are well known for their hospitality. Wales is a gem and I highly recommend every visit.

View from Castellamare

Anyway, moving back onto Castellamare. Even though I don’t live in Swansea, I’m a member of the Swansea Vegans Facebook page due to my proximity to the city. I found on the group the the cafe started offering vegan cheese for their pizzas!

Castellamare is made up of a restaurant and a cafe, but on this occasion we went to the cafe. I wasn’t 100% confident that the restaurant offered the same menu.

We perused the menu and there were lots of vegetables on offer. Tom ordered a vegan version of their vegetarian pizza which had lots of roasted vegetables. I ordered a vegan pizza and added mushrooms, spinach and olives. We also added a side of chips. I did ask what vegan cheese was used but the staff member wasn’t sure but she could confirm it was vegan which was good enough for me!

The pizza was lovely! For the 2 pizzas, 2 sides of chips and 2 drinks, it came to around £38 which is fairly reasonable. The pizza was a great size and the chips were lovely too. The cheese was lovely and creamy but you could tell it was different to the normal cheese they used.

There are many other vegan options in Swansea if you’re out and about. HappyCow will give you plenty of ideas! I would say, if you’re in the area then I recommend a visit, but I actually recommend you come and visit Swansea and then come here and also Boo’s Kitchen (which I’ve written about here) for your vegan food!

Brittany Ferries: Vegan Options

Tom is a non-flyer so our holidays usually involve a ferry crossing. This year, we took the Portsmouth – Cherbourg crossing over to France, and vice versa on the way back. This is usually my preferred crossing as it’s usually only 3 hour long and very comfortable. I’m not the best traveller by sea (I always have to take motion sickness tablets) so I’m not a fan of any overnight crossings so this crossing is perfect for us.

Over the years, there’s rarely been a vegan offering on-board so it wasn’t any different from anywhere else really.

Last year, I remember they had a vegan chilli that I tried that was in a glass jar. It was nice but quite a small portion.

This year, however, was a game changer! There were so many more vegan options available on the boat than there had been before, and arguably, more than some chain restaurants in the UK!

I bought a lentil dhaal for myself, with a box of mini oreos and a coke. Tom got himself a vegan magnum!

The lentil dhaal was really delicious. It was flavourful and full of veggies such as edamame, broccoli and carrot.

These weren’t the only vegan options available on board! There was also a houmous and vegetable wrap, the chilli that was available the previous year, as well as 2 other vegan options that I didn’t note down.

We’re in a changing world now where veganism is on the up and the demand is high. I’m looking forward to what’s to come in the future. So for those of you taking the Normandie Express over to France for your Summer holidays, don’t worry about options as there’s plenty out there now.

Gurou Street Food in La Rochelle, France

When planning our trip to visit La Rochelle, Happy Cow is our biggest friend. Happy Cow will give you a list of the vegan friendly restaurants and shops in a given area that you search. Not only this, they also provide a list of places to avoid to! I highly recommend using it, especially in places where you’re unfamiliar.

Anyway, Tom found Gurou Street Food which was an all vegan restaurant. It opened at 12pm, so we got there just in time for opening. It’s a small restaurant down a quiet side street in La Rochelle, a short walk from the main street in La Rochelle.

We put our belongings down on a table outside under the shaded umbrella and walked inside. The waitress started speak to us in French and I immediately looked dumb-founded and responded with “Parlez-vous anglais?”. She then switched to fluent English and very helpfully started translating the menu for us and making recommendations.

I ordered the ‘Double Cheezy’ burger and Tom ordered the ‘Ultra’ burger. We also ordered a side of cauliflower wings and fries.

The double cheezy was a deep fried seitan patty with 2 slices of vegan cheese, BBQ sauce, salad and onions. It was incredibly large and very filling! The cauliflower wings were amazing and the fries were great. Tom’s Ultra burger was a veggie patty that he thoroughly enjoyed.

After our meal, we were so full that we almost forgot about dessert!

The window sill was lined with delicious goodies, which included: Chocolate and banana cupcakes, Carrot cake and Chocolate brownies. We took a box home with us and decided on the brownie and the cupcake.

The brownie was lovely. It was light and fluffy, not at all dense and filled with pockets of coconut. The cupcake was on another level. There was a pocket of melted chocolate inside and the top of the cupcake was nice and crisp, but the inside was soft and gooey. It was fantastic.

I can’t remember the specific prices for each item, but in total I spent around £42 for mains, sides, dessert and drinks for 2 people, so not at all unreasonable.

All-in-all, for those of you looking for a vegan stop-off in La Rochelle, Gurou Street Food is where you should be. The food is amazing and the staff were so helpful and friendly.

Purezza in Camden, London

Purezza. I’m sure many of you have heard of it. Cult vegan pizza company based in Brighton and more recently in London.

So last year, Tom and I stayed in London for the NFL and on our way back home, we stopped off in Camden for a trip to Purezza. I’d never been before but Tom had been to their Brighton store before and raved about their food.

The Camden store was quite small but we got there at opening time so we were first through the door and got a table. It got busy fairly quickly so if you’re gunna make a visit, I recommend booking or getting there early.

The menu is extensive and isn’t just pizza. We ordered a Telling Porkies pizza, a side of mac and cheese, and cheesy dough balls.

The Telling Porkies pizza includes: White base with melted cheddar, mixed wild forest mushrooms, marinated pulled BBQ pieces and sundried tomatoes.

Everything was amazing and delicious. The cheese is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before and was quite possibly the best vegan cheese I’ve ever tasted. The mac and cheese was nice and mild, and the dough balls were so melty!

As I mentioned, we visited last year so things may have changed, but the service at the time was slow when the restaurant filled up. We waited a long time for someone to come to clear our table so we could ask for the bill. I appeared that they were under staffed to me.

All of this in mind, I still highly recommend a visit to Purezza. The food is so delicious and the pizza is outstanding. They really are the Plant Pioneers that they say they are.

Oowee Vegan Diner, Bristol

My sister, @vgnnatalie, moved to Bristol from our family home in Cardiff and has ever since, always been recommending all of the glorious vegan independents in Bristol. They put Cardiff to shame!

But seriously, give my sister a follow on insta because you will get serious vegan food envy and inspiration!

Oowee diner aren’t actually a vegan company and have various branches around Bristol. However, more importantly, they opened a vegan branch! Their Oowee vegan diner is, as labelled, completely vegan and has a great range of vegan junk food.

You will not be disappointed. They have a replacement meat for everything imaginable and the flavours are great. Who doesn’t love options?!

Admittedly, the last time I went was December 2018 so I’m catching up on blog posts and making sure you guys are all fully aware of your vegan options out there. Plus, I don’t think I’m blogging enough about food!

Interior of the restaurant

The food is fantastic, and my only criticism of the place was that the floors were super greasy and my boots were slipping everywhere.

I ordered The Sneaky Clucker burger and the Cluckin Fries. My eyes were certainly too big for my belly and I took plenty of it back home to eat later. Both were delicious, but I specifically recommend the Cluckin Fries. The gravy is a great addition to the dish and makes it really interesting and flavourful.

To drink, I ordered myself a milkshake. I cannot for the life of me remember what flavour it was but it was sweet and thick. It was made with their soft serve ice cream which they have a machine for in the shop and you could tell. Highly recommend.

Cluckin Fries, The Sneaky Clucker burger and a milkshake

Those of you looking for somewhere vegan to eat around Bristol, I highly recommend a visit to Oowee Vegan. They may not be a fully vegan company but the specific branch is exclusively vegan. Give it a try!

Boo’s Kitchen in Mumbles, Swansea

Tucked away, on a quiet street corner in the Mumbles of Swansea is the beautiful Boo’s Kitchen.

Tom and I go to Boo’s every now and then when we’re feeling like a nice brunch/lunch or if we’ve been down to the Marina Market in Swansea. This isn’t a vegan event but is hosted once a month at the National Waterfront Museum and has various vegan options available.

Boo’s is a completely vegetarian establishment, with many dishes that can be made vegan. We love the atmosphere there. It’s a lovely quiet cafe with great food and friendly staff.

The breakfast menu is served between 9 – 11:30, and lunch I believe is served between 12 – 4. We’ve never had breakfast before, even though we’ve probably been early enough. We usually have a coffee and wait till lunch!

There are various plant based milks available here, so make sure you ask to see what’s available. They also make fresh juices in store in various different flavours. The menu is up on the wall and occasionally they’ll do a one-off special so keep a look out for them!

My usual order is the Reuben toastie (pulled jackfruit and gherkins) with chips. Tom will usually order the Soup of the Day but the last time we went, it wasn’t available and he was heartily disappointed. My brother came with us on our last trip and he ordered the Mexican Bowl and a side of chips.

I love the Reuben toastie. It tastes delicious and is really filling. The chips are always light and crispy too so I would highly recommend a side of chips too.

To finish off, we usually buy a vegan cake or brownie to go so that we have a nice dessert to snack on when we get home. The cakes are lovely and there’s always vegan offerings available.

If you’re ever in the Swansea area, I recommend a visit to Boo’s Kitchen. The food is simple but delicious and the service is always great. The staff are friendly and very helpful.