Monthly Archives: October 2016

Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake

Happy Halloween! Some say it’s the most wonderful time of the year and I for one would have to agree… the colours, the warming spiced aromas (that’s just from the pumpkin spiced lattes across the country) and carved pumpkins everywhere… I love all of it!

I had this idea for a pumpkin cheesecake and now I know this baked one is a delicious triumph I want to try a no-bake version next… but for now, let me just tell you a bit about the heavenly scent this cake will have your house smelling of… who remembers Angel Delight? The sachet powder you’d mix with milk to make a pudding is not suitable for vegans (sad face) but the Butterscotch flavour was my favourite, I’d tend to get so far as mixing it up and then I wouldn’t bother to wait for it to be refrigerated and firm, instead just launching in right away with a spoon or even just guzzling straight from the mixing jug.

Anyway, I digress, that gorgeous Butterscotch smell, this cheesecake smells exactly like that! Oh it’s so good… and the flavour is just pumpkin spice heaven too, yum yummm… on top of all that it’s so simple to make. No pumpkin puree required, easy! And 100% cruelty free and vegan of course.

So here is my easy baked pumpkin spiced cheesecake!

What you’ll need:

Crust/ base:

  • 4 Digestives
  • 4 Oaties (I used Aldi’s own for both but a lot of supermarket own brands are accidentally vegan, just check labels).
  • 5 tbsp oats (I used Tesco value brand)
  • 5 tbsp vegan butter (I used Flora Dairy Free)
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts


  • 1 small pumpkin, roasted
  • 1/2 block silken tofu
  • 2 tbsp cream cheeze
  • 1.5tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice (or1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp each of the following: mixed spice, nutmeg, ground cloves & ginger)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
    • 1 tbsp crystalised ginger (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and roast pumpkin till softened
  2. Add biscuits/ crackers to food processor mix until a fine meal is achieved (alternatively, smash with a rolling pin in a large freezer bag). Add melted butter and pulse to combine.
  3. Transfer to a standard cake tin and press with fingers to form the crust evenly on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned, then set aside to cool. Keep oven at 350 F.
  5. Remove pumpkin and quarter then return to oven to cook further.
  6. Prepare cheesecake filling by adding all ingredients to a blender and blending until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings/sweetness as needed.
  7. Once pumpkin is fully cook and soft, allow to cool before scraping out the seeds then add to blender and blend until fully incorporated and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings/flavours as needed.
  8. Pour cheesecake mix onto pre-baked crus and bake at 350 for 1 hour. The edges should be golden brown and the centre should be slightly jiggly.
  9. Allow to cool a little before slicing and serving.
  10. Will keep stored in the fridge for up to a few days, though best when fresh.

Let me know what you think and if you make this tag me on instagram! @vegan_plate



Raw Vegan Caramel Shortcake


When I say these are heaven in your mouth I’m not exaggerating. Guilt free, gluten free, refined sugar free heaven. And like all my recipes 100% cruelty free of course.

Caramel shortcake. Millionaire’s shortbread. Twix bars… it could be given a plethora of names but it’s a crumbly, biscuity base, with luxuriously silky caramel and crunchy chocolatey topping to bring it all together… divine!

So I’m referring to all the components as their regular, naughtier counterparts however this doesn’t taste like regular, conventional caramel or shortcake… but it does give you the same sweet hit and tastes a lot like the naughty versions we all know and love, just in a better, lighter, healthier way… if that makes sense.

These can be kept in the freezer meaning they’ll last for ages… I doubt anyone could make them and have them last that long though as they’re just. too. good!img_20160403_145754

Here’s how to make them and what you’ll need for each layer:

Shortcake bottom layer:

1. 5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tbsp almond coconut butter
1.5 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup

Caramel middle layer:

1.5 cups medjoul dates, soaked in warm water
3/4 cup (soaked date) water
2 tbsp coconut oil

Chocolate top layer:

2 tbsp Almighty Foods Hazelnut Fuj (if you dont have this, use any other chocolatey spread)
2 tsp choc powder / raw cacao (I used one of each)
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp coconut oil

*If you want to make it really rich and a bit of a crispier choc layer, melt some dark chocolate into the mixture. Around 30g would do but you can add more or less as preferred.


1. Soak the dates in enough warm water to cover, for at least 2 hours.

2. In a food processor or blender (I used a nutribullet), blend the oats to a fine powder. Put in a bowl and mix with the melted coconut oil and maple syrup until blended together well.

2. Press into the bottom of a rectangular tin or baking tray. I used a foil tray-bake tray as you can see in the pictures. Place in the freezer to set.

3. Measure out the date water and add to the melted coconut oil and dates then blend until smooth. Spread this ‘caramel’ mixture over the bottom ‘shortcake’ layer and return tray to the freezer for about an hour.

4. Add the ingredients for the chocolate layer to the blender and blend well, until completely smooth and it looks like a thick chocolate sauce. Spread this over the caramel layer once it’s set, and freeze for around 2 hours. Slice into individual squares… or into long thin slices, more like Twix bars.

5. Store remaining slices in the freezer. Remove shortly before eating to allow to defrost slightly or enjoy in summer immediately, almost like a choc-ice!


If you try this let me know what you think! Tag me in your creations on instagram @vegan_plate

Nutribullet NUTtella!

Easy nutty-nutella

20161012_131147_1476995632489_resized         Hubby and I enjoy regular bags of mixed nuts, yeah we know how to have a good time people… but every time without fail there are always loads of hazelnuts left in the end of each bag… then a new bag gets opened and the poor previous bag’s hazelnuts are left forgotten about… so today I decided enough was enough and that it was time these lovely little morsels be appreciated dang it!

The only thing was there wasn’t actually as many hazelnuts hanging about in my cupboard as I’d thought in my head, so I used an array of other nuts that were to hand to pad it out… and thus resulting in the nuttiest choccy spread you ever did taste! I had it first dipped a la finger, then spread a la toast (well, not toast in the traditional sense, I was very upset to find we didn’t actually have any bread… cause this was a spur of the moment thang, had I planned ahead, convenient sliced bread would have been purchased and ready for toasting! Yes I have a bread maker and the necessary ingredients to bake bread but come on, one culinary masterpiece at a time!) So I raided the freezer and found some Warburton thins from one of my recent supermarket bargain hauls reduced to 10p per pack, woo! So that was what I toasted and spread the nutty, choccy goodness on… to be fair, it is so delicious in fact that you could legitimately spread it on near anything and it would taste good.


So without further delay, I present to you vegan nutty chocolatey spreadable, scoopable deliciousness…


  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup each of walnuts, cashews and roasted hazelnuts,
  • 2 tbsp chocolate powder (I used 1 of Cadbury’s and 1 of raw cacao)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Splash ground nut oil to help blend


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and add hazelnuts to a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 8-10 minutes just to warm the natural oils and loosen the skins and make them easier to blend.
  2. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Then roll the hazelnuts around on kitchen paper to loosen and remove the skins. They should slide off fairly easily.
  3. Add hazelnuts and the rest of the nuts to a food processor or high speed blender (I used a nutribullet). Blend until a butter is formed – scraping down sides as required. I stopped and shook the container every so often and it took around 5 mins.
  4. Add chocolate powder of choice, vanilla and maple syrup and blend again until well incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more syrup or vanilla if desired.
  5. Transfer to a clean jar and store at room temperature for 2-3 weeks or more.


*If you are using a nutribullet and find it is taking too long you can add a little bit of oil (I used groundnut oil) to help get things moving and blending again. Patience can be required however so if you find your bullet is overheating, let it rest for a bit then go back to it. The longer you blend for, the smoother a result you will get. I blended for under 10 mins in total as I wasn’t too fussed about having avery silky consistency, and it’s still spreadable and lovely  🙂


Vegan mayonnaise 2 ways

Aqua-faba: fun to say and Absa-lutely-faba-ulous to use! Who knew the endless possibilities that chickpea juice would offer?! Ok, not so much juice but the liquid good ol’ beans and pulses are stored in, in tins and cartons… wow.

So stop draining your tinned chickpeas down the sink and store it for making mayonnaise and meringues! And let the poor chickens off the hook! Because eggs have no use in our kitchens anymore, no sir-ee! And if you don’t have any tins of chickpeas to hand, or you’re just not that keen on using chickpea juice (don’t worry, you don’t taste it whatsoever!) then you can still make delicious vegan mayonnaise sans aquafaba (see second recipe below).

You can store aquafaba in an airtight container in the fridge for around a week to use later (be warned, don’t forget about it, you’ll really wish you hadn’t) and you can also store it in the freezer for future use.

Aquafaba mayonnaise:

  • 4 tbsp chickpea water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Pinch salt
  • 200ml oil (I used rice bran oil)

Blend in a nutribullet blender or food processor and voila!


Easy peasy mayo:

1 cup oil (I used sunflower oil)

1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened soy)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Salt to taste

  • Try the mayo once it’s blended to check if you need more salt, or if it’s too thick add more milk; or too thin, add more oil.
  • Try adding different flavours such as garlic, sriracha or chipotle – oh so good!


These homemade mayo’s are perfect blended into chickpea-of-the-sea / vegan-tuna-salad style dishes and great made into vegan-egg-mayo / coronation style fillings for baked potatoes and sandwiches.



Baba Ghanoush

Baba ghanoush… Bhaba … Babha… Babah… Ganoush… Gahnoush… However you spell it, you cant go wrong with this classic dish… a bit like a sexy older sibling to houmous (Hummus?!) …it’s silky and smokey and oh so finger licking tasty!

Use it as a dip for pitta, a filling for spuds, a stir through sauce for posh mushrooms on toast… oh the delicious options are endless!

Loving the fact that Aubergines (Eggplant!) are so reasonably priced too so this can be a really quick, simple and cheap go to dish that’s sure to impress not only your taste buds, but any loved ones lucky enough to have you make them this!


I served mine with baked tofu and lemon roasted asparagus

You’ll need:

  • 1 Aubergine
  • 1/2 tin chickpeas or butterbeans (you can make this dip without either but I like the texture it gives, plus added nutrition, bonus!)
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • Sprinkle sea salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika and/or 1/2 tsp cumin

*If you like a very smoked flavour you can use smoked garlic, smoked salt or even add in ½ tsp liquid smoke


  1. Preheat oven to high or medium temp.
  2. Simply pierce your aubergine and place in tray onto top shelf in oven. You can also roast your garlic if desired.
  3. Bake until the aubergine skin begins to darken up and starts to crisp slightly. It’s perfectly baked when the inner flesh has gone very soft and caramelised.
  4. Remove and cut in half with a sharp knife (hold with a clean towel if very hot) and pull the flesh away from the skin with a spoon – It should be soft and tender and the skin should come off easy. Add flesh to a food processor. (Feel free to add your aubergine skin to the mix too if it’s lovely and soft as it will blend well).
  5. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, chickpeas/butter beans and a pinch of salt and mix until creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (I like a bit more tahini because I have a tahini obsession).
  6. Serve with pita and/or tortilla chips and veggies. Will keep covered in the fridge for several days.

Top tip! Stir through some mayonnaise (try my easy peasy version) for a deliciously creamy, flavour that’s an ideal topping on just about anything… and also ideal for dipping pretty much everything! Particularly chips YUM!

If you try this let me know what you think! Tag me in your creations on instagram @vegan_plate

Vegan 5:2 diet – my experience with the 5:2 diet

the-5-2-diet-bookI have done the 5:2 diet a total of 3 times… well, more like 2 and a half but you’ll understand why I say that in a moment! The first time I did the 5:2 diet was when I was veggie and I had pretty good results which I’ll outline shortly. The second time I was vegan and I got results but not as good as first time round… and the third time which can only kind of be counted as a half attempt due to my lack of success entirely, also revealed some quite interesting things to me…

So lets go back to 2013 and my first foray into the dieting world phenomena that is 5:2…

We’d just moved house and I was unable to exercise due to a back injury. I was feeling quite down and decided to take action. I couldn’t exercise but I could do something about my weight. I wasn’t massively overweight – after getting to around 9.5 stone in 2010 for our wedding (I say ‘around’ because back then I never really needed to diet and so I didn’t weigh myself – oh the memories of being young and slim with minimal effort!) the weight had come back on year on year since; I’d tried the odd thing here and there to lose a bit of weight including vegetarian low carb, and I’d lose a bit then put it back on etc etc and so on and so forth! I’d got to near 11 stone and I knew I was happy at 10 stone and I’d be delighted at 9 anything. So one lovely sunny day in July 2013 I read a book on the 52 diet in a few short hours and embarked upon my first fast day without hesitation, and so July was my first month of 5:2ing… I found it really easy after the first week – and after just those first two days of ‘fast days’ the weight came off easily and quickly. I can’t remember now how much I lost initially but after 5 or 6 months I’d lost at least a stone – so I’d got to where I wanted and felt amazing. It felt as though I hadn’t even had to exert that much effort!

It was a busy summer too and 5:2 fitted into my life and worked around my plans and commitments – I could do 2 fast days a week then still go out on the weekend and drink a lot and eat take aways etc and still lose weight! Result! I’d read you still needed to eat sensibly on your non-fast days – feast days they were often called – and feast days they were for me! I honestly ate what I wanted and didn’t count a thing.

Even on busier weeks when I could only fit in 1 fast day instead of 2, and these would be the weeks that were even heavier on the ‘feasting’, I wouldn’t gain any weight but break even.

Work colleagues quickly said how they could see a difference in my appearance and I felt great too, fitting into clothes that had been hanging up with the labels still attached and being able to zip up dresses that had been gathering dust for too long! Yes I felt FAB! I thought 5:2 was the best thing ever and recommended it to everyone!

Roll on February 2014 and I stopped doing 5:2 and the weight just came straight back on. And then some!

It wasn’t until 2015 I decided to try and lose weight again and I immediately turned to the 52 diet. So starting around the 70kg mark again, I started up with 2 fast days a week again. It felt harder this time – good at first though – a feeling of relief and control – but it wasn’t long before the good feelings wore off and it was just harder in general to do

I struggled to eat only the 500 calories you’re meant to on fast days. I didn’t remember it feeling this hard the first time? Was my body used to it? Had my body discovered my mean ways of shedding the fat and decided to hold onto every last bit of it?! That’s what it felt like. I was expecting it to be just like the last time with the simplicity and ease I’d experienced previously and the weight just falling off effortlessly. Nope, not at all. It was hard, much harder second time round. I’d average out around 800 calories 2 days a week instead of the 500, so I’d try and do an extra day fasting but it never really worked out, it just felt like my body wasn’t cooperating! But nevertheless, in a few short months I did manage to lose about half a stone which I was happy with, and again people were noticing I’d lost a bit of weight which I think is always a good indication of how you’re doing.

A couple of holidays later however and the weight was all back on again – and oh yes, and then some – again!

Early 2016 after the feasting of Chrimbo and I was back to my 52 ways… but this time it felt impossible… I really felt aware I was restricting my calories severely two days a week… I was starving. All the time. No amount of food ever felt enough. I’d start and then I really would struggle to stop. So then several fast days that started out with good intentions would crumble and turn into mega feast days in the hopes I would try again tomorrow or the next day… and then life just kept getting in the way and the fast days never happened. Till finally one day when I was particularly full of resolve that I wouldn’t cave and that I must not give in… I MUST NOT EAT! It had got to around midday (I was going as long as I possibly could without eating – in 52 land if you start it can be harder to stop so one method is to simply not start) and I happened to see a cute illustration with ‘Top 5 vegan pre-workout snacks’… I looked at the delicious drawings (yes, drawings of food, not even actual photographs had me beside myself!) of avocados, nuts, bread… oh my! I realised some things at this point.

I had these things in the cupboard…

I realised… how much better to eat a delicious, nutritious snack that really feeds your body, so that it can then go and do something amazing?!

I realised, I was sat attempting to exert as little energy as possible in order to try not to eat anything for as long as possible…

It didn’t seem right! (Yes I know there’s plenty research to suggest the multitude of health benefits associated with fasting, I’ve read a lot of this research).

If you look at food as fuel, as nourishing our little bodies that do so much for us, where is the sense in depriving it? Doing less so I need to eat less? …How about do more so you can eat more? Now that’s much more like it!

When you view food as nourishment it becomes less about punishment… you want to feed your body nourishing, health promoting foods! You don’t want to deny it any of these amazing foods our beautiful earth provides for us a minute longer!

I’m lucky to be able to say I’ve never had an eating disorder, not in the clinical sense but I certainly have a somewhat disordered relationship with food. I use it as comfort and reward. I’m a classic emotional eater. If I’m sad, I’ll console myself with food, if I’m happy, I’ll celebrate with food… I love to cook and I love to feed my loved ones too, my life pretty much revolves around food! Also as an ethical vegan, I’m not at all focused on my health, I love that eating a vegan diet is instantly a better way to eat and better for not only the animals but also our planet and our health… but those are just bonuses in my view. I do it for the animals and so I still don’t view food as being the main huge link to our health that it really is. I will always pick a junk food item (ie pizza, chips etc) over a couscous, quinoa salad. Don’t get me wrong I love cous cous and quinoa but they don’t get my taste buds going in the same way that a big plate of greasy, salty chips does! So I particularly hate these stereotypes that vegans are scrawny and/or particularly fit and svelte! I guess all body shaming and/or stereotyping is wrong regardless (there are images online suggesting that meat eaters are overweight and plantbased folk are lean and trim and also wonderfully muscly, how lovely! If only! So yeh that’s a gripe and I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent here. What I wanted to say was most of us have some level of disordered attitude towards eating, that’s why most of us are nearly always on a diet! (And unfortunately going vegan isn’t a magic wand that solves all your weight and food related issues in one fell swoop – though it’s pretty close ;-)… but if you’re an over eater, comfort eater, binge eater etc those things will still be there… and ‘cause VEGAN FOOD IS AWESOME! You can literally still eat anything you want in vegan form, jus’ sayin’…)

So bearing in mind that most of has have these sorts of relationships with food anyway, I’m afraid one of my other realisations was that the 52 diet was actually encouraging my disordered view and approach and relationship with food. I was in this nasty cycle of restricting then binging – punishment and reward.

I would restrict for the day or two as required and then binge uncontrollably on the days I was ‘allowed’ to… as soon as I made this realisation, I made a note of the Top 5 vegan pre-workout snacks, made some avocado on toast (which was quite possibly the most unreal and out of this world tasting avo-toast I’ve ever had) and went and worked out. I did not feel one iota of guilt. I felt great. I decided there and then I wouldn’t let the lure of the 52 diet suck me in again.

The following week I ate what I wanted and even had pizza twice in that one week.

And guess what – I lost more weight that week than I had in the previous weeks trying to lose weight so unbearably and painfully and disdainfully that I was becoming a mere shadow of myself! It sort of felt like I’d been in a dark, cloudy bubble and I’d broken free and I could see clearly again… (also an analogy I often use for going vegan!)

Things made sense again… Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full; your body knows what it needs and what to do. We are just always getting in the way! Silly humans!

So I’d love to say I have a wonderful, healthy, balanced relationship with food now but because I like oreos a bit too much, I’d still like to lose a bit of weight and let me tell you, once you 52 it’s hard to stop… in fact, I’d say in order to maintain, you need to continue to fast for one day a week, probably forever! But then no-one’s done it that long! So we don’t actually know for sure, maybe your body would get so used to that too that you’d need to increase your fasting periods in order to not put on weight over time… eek. It certainly has a strong hold of me and it’s hard to let that go, when you know you’ve had good results in the past… but I do think that our clever bodies are just that bit too clever – once you’ve done it and then go back to eating regularly (or without 52ing) and then attempt intermittent fasting again as a means for weightloss, your body has made a note of it somewhere and is less willing to let the weight shift so obligingly!

So, my overall consensus here is 52 diet is great for losing weight initially but you need to be willing to comit to it longterm to maintain any weightloss and/or other health benefits you feel it offers.

My advice based on my experience is to eat the avocado toast and savour every delicious mouthful then go do lots of fun stuff with all the wonderful energy that yummy nutritious food gave you.

Eat well and be happy 🙂


What’s your experience with 5:2 diet? Have you had a similar/ different experience to me? I’d love to hear from anyone who has!