Friday, 24 April 2015

Apricot and Almond Brittle

University (and GCSE and A level) exam season is starting in the next few weeks, so we'll all need that little bit of extra "brain food" (i.e. sugar) to keep us going through the long and seemingly very sunny days (and nights!) of revising for exams and meeting coursework deadlines.  Throughout the next few months, it will be very important for anyone taking exams to look after themselves and eat and sleep properly, so breakfast is a must, as well as little snacks throughout the day.  This apricot and almond brittle is a snack idea that I found in Home Sweet Home from The Hummingbird Bakery, and for any vegans out there, it's vegan-friendly too!

Ingredients (to make 1kg of brittle)

180g (6 1/2 oz) flaked almonds
200g (7 oz) dried apricots, thinly sliced
100g (3 1/2 oz) dark chocolate chips (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
600g (1lb 5oz) caster sugar
400ml (14 fl oz) water


  1. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit), or gas mark 3.
  2. Spread the flaked almonds onto the lined tray and toast them in the oven until they are a light golden colour - this will only take a few minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Once the toasted almonds are cool, add the sliced apricots and chocolate chips to the same tray and use your hands to mix them in evenly.
  4. In a medium saucepan, dissolve the caster sugar in the water.  Bring to the boil and continue to boil for 15-20 minutes or until it forms a rich caramel colour.  Do not stir while the mixture is boiling or the caramel will crystallise; just gently swirl the pan from time to time.
  5. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the nuts, fruit and chocolate, making sure to try and cover all of the ingredients evenly in sugar.  Carefully set aside as the tray will be hot, and leave the brittle to cool and set completely.
  6. Once cooled, break into pieces to serve.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Vegan Honeycomb

Earlier this week, I was looking at the Instagram and blog of What the Cook, which is run by an old friend from school called Elle, and I saw that she had posted a recipe for black pepper honeycomb.  I'd seen the photo that she'd included, and I thought it looked quite nice and I was also reminded of the honeycomb of Cadbury's Crunchie bars.  As usual, I'd wondered if I could find a recipe for a vegan-friendly equivalent of honeycomb (i.e. a honeycomb without honey), and the easiest one I could find was the below recipe from Emily Cooks Vegan.


100g caster sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda


  1. Put the caster sugar and golden syrup into a stainless steel pan, stir once and then heat (do not stir the mixture at all while the pan is on the heat).
  2. Leave the sugar to bubble away for a few minutes until the mixture reaches a deep golden, maple syrup-like colour.  Quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda, and when the mixture "whooshes up", pour into a small, greaseproof paper-lined tin (the mixture will spread out by itself).
  3. Leave for a few minutes to set, then bash into smaller pieces.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Lemon Ice Cream

It's been quite warm and sunny here in the UK over this Easter week, so it's time for a little summer post.  If your first choice is ice cream, you're in luck!  This lemon ice cream from The IceCreamists is refreshing, sweet, zingy and dairy-free, so it's suitable for vegans or anyone with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy!


200ml (7fl oz) water
200g (7oz) caster sugar
150ml (5fl oz) freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 lemons
1 heaped tsp grated lemon zest, plus extra to decorate


  1. Pour the water into a saucepan and add the sugar.  Place over a low heat and bring to the boil, whisking often, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, continuing to whisk until the liquid turns into a syrup.
  2. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice to the syrup and mix with a stick blender. Cover and refrigerate, ideally overnight, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4 degrees Celsius).
  4. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. When the churning is completed, use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sorbetto into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2-3 hours).
  6. Decorate each portion with a pinch of lemon zest before serving.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Vegan Chocolate Rice Krispie Nests

This Sunday is Easter Sunday, so I thought a little Easter-related post was in order.  Ten years ago just before Easter, I had my best friend over for a sleepover and my mum organised three different Easter-related craft activities for us to do during the day.  One of them was making pompom chicks, the second was using stamps to make Easter cards, and the third were chocolate Rice Krispie nests.  Although my mum made a lot of Rice Krispie nests for school events when I was in primary school, these then fell out of favour, so I haven't had them in a while.  Then last week, I wondered "Hmmm, I wonder if I can find a vegan-friendly recipe for chocolate Rice Krispie nests?"  A quick search on Google brought up this recipe from Laurenne Hopkins.  In the recipe ingredients list as shown on the website, butter was listed as an ingredient, so I asked a vegan friend if she knew of any alternatives to butter that I could find easily in a supermarket and she suggested a brand called Pure.  I also plan to make these for a departmental "Ladies Tea Party" at uni in 2 weeks!


100g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
100g Rice Krispies


  1. Measure the chocolate into a bowl and melt in short bursts in a microwave (stirring really often to avoid the chocolate burning) or in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
  2. Pour the Rice Krispies into the chocolate mixture and cover them with the chocolate.
  3. Use a spoon to divide the mix into cupcake cases.  Refrigerate until the "nests" are set.