Sunday 27 December 2020

Sticky Toffee Christmas Fruit Cake


It began with a jar of raisins that my mum had been soaking in brandy for a whole year. Entrusted with this jar of gold (if you know, you know) I set to making this recipe. I don't even have the words to explain just how incredible it is. You'll have to make it yourself to understand. 

If you love sticky toffee pudding and fruity christmas cake, this hybrid dessert is dedicated to you and your superior taste buds. The sponge is best eaten the day after when it has had time to soften further. By some miracle or magic it becomes even more toffee-like and delectable. Store the cake in an airtight tin/container and consume within one week.

I've included a few notes below in case you need any substitution recommendations or clarity on any aspect of this recipe.

If you do make this, be sure to share your pictures and feedback with me on Instagram :)

Dried Fruit

I used dried raisins in this recipe. Nice and simple. Sultanas would also do the trick if that is all you have. You may want to switch things up by adding some dried cranberries for an extra festive feel. You may also want to throw in some candied peel. For a more basic sticky toffee pudding, using just dates takes the toffee factor to another incredible level. In this case, you will need to blend all the dates together with the black tea.

As I mentioned, my dried fruit was soaked in brandy for a whole year! This is a good tradition to get into if you know you plan to make Christmas cake every year. Of course, I don't expect you to have a jar of year old soaked fruits just lying around, so I recommend soaking your fruit for 24 hours to allow them to plump up. If you're really impatient and want to make this recipe ASAP, then soak your fruits for at least two hours before you start baking. 

Alcohol or No Alcohol?

I used brandy to soak my raisins, but you can also use rum or whisky (or even a blend of all three). For an alcohol-free version, you may choose to soak your dried fruit in a fruit juice such as orange or apple juice. Unless you avoid alcohol for a special/specific reason, I highly encourage you to use it for this recipe. The warmth and flavour is unparalleled. 


Self-raising flour is more common here in the UK. If you cannot find it easily, you can make your own at home by combining plain (or all-purpose) flour with baking powder. The ratio is 2 teaspoons of baking powder for every 150g / 1 cup.

Toffee Sauce

The blended fruit in this cake gives it the sticky, toffee-like taste and texture. In my opinion, there is no need to make an accompanying toffee sauce. Instead, serve the cake warm with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream or sweet, silky custard.


Serves 8

- 1 and 1/2 cups self-raising flour 
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup cold vegan margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup black tea
- 2 cups raisins, soaked in brandy
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


1. Preheat your oven to 180C.

2. Place the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cold vegan margarine and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use your fingers to combine the ingredients until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

3. Drain the raisins from the brandy, retaining the brandy in a jug for later use.

4. Brew some black tea in a saucepan. Half a cup of water with one teabag (which you can discard after 2 minutes of brewing). Add 1 cup of the soaked raisins (drained). Once the tea comes to a boil, add the bicarbonate of soda. The tea will get foamy and frothy at this stage. Take off the heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then place the entire mixture, including the raisins, in a food blender and blend until smooth.

5. Add the smooth tea/raisin blend to the large mixing bowl with the other ingredients, along with 1/2 cup of brandy (drained from the soaked fruit) and the remaining 1 cup of raisins. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until you have a luscious cake batter. Do not over mix.

6. Prepare a round 18cm cake tin by brushing the inside with a generous amount of vegan margarine. Pour the batter into the cake tin, place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. A skewer stuck in the centre should come out clean. if this is not the case, bake for a further 5 minutes. 

7. Allow to cool slightly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or sweet custard. If you can wait one day before serving, even better, as the cake will get softer and stickier and more indulgent the day after.

Sunday 20 December 2020

3 Easy Vegan Festive Side Dishes

If you're in need of some last minute ideas for side dishes this Christmas, then look no further. These three recipes are simple to make, packed full of nutritious, colourful fresh produce, and will be sure to brighten up your dinner table. The great thing about these recipes is that they can be made a few days in advance, frozen and reheated on the day. This is particularly appealing if you don't want to waste half of Christmas day cooking!

There is a lot of flexibility with the three dishes. For the mulled red cabbage, you can use green cabbage instead, or you can replace the pears with apples. For the roasted root vegetables, you can add or subtract vegetables based on what you have available at home. For the Brussels sprouts in peanut sauce, you can use sunflower or pumpkin seeds if you have a peanut allergy, or leave it out altogether.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and give them a try, even beyond the holiday season. Have a wonderful Christmas and I'll catch you in the new year!

Keep up with more bonus recipe ideas over on Instagram or Facebook.

1. Mulled Red Cabbage and Pears

Serves 8


- 1 large red cabbage , quartered, cored and thinly sliced 
- 1 large red onion , sliced 
- 250ml red wine 
- 1 large cinnamon stick 
- 5 cloves 
- 2 star anise 
- 5 cardamom pods 
- fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp soft brown sugar 
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
- 3 large pears, diced
- fresh coriander

Place all the ingredients (except the pears) in a large pot and cook, covered, for one hour on low heat. Add the pears and cook for another hour and a half until the cabbage is very soft. 

Serve warm with some fresh coriander scattered over the top.

2. Nutmeg Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 4


- 3 large carrots, cut into batons
- 1 large parsnip, cut into batons
- 200g new potatoes, halved
- 8 whole garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the cut vegetables on a lined baking tray and add the mixed herbs, nutmeg, oil and salt. Toss until the veg is well coated. 

Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Serve hot with fresh parsley to garnish.

3. Brussels Sprouts in Chilli Peanut Sauce

Serves 4


- 500g brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 tin plum tomatoes
- 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 scotch bonnet chilli
- 125g roasted peanuts (plus extra for garnish)
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- fresh coriander


Place the plum tomatoes, red onion, chilli and roasted peanuts in a food blender and blend until you have a thick puree. Pour into a saucepan, add the curry powder. mixed herbs, paprika, chilli powder and salt. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. 

Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts have softened. Serve warm with some fresh coriander and extra roasted peanuts on top to garnish.

Saturday 19 December 2020

How to Make Mulled Wine


Fill your home with the wonderful smells of Christmas. This mulled wine recipe is easy to make and absolutely delicious.

For a non-alcoholic version, use cranberry juice or apple juice or blackcurrant juice instead. You can also play around with the spices. I've gone for the classics such as cinnamon and cloves, but have added a little extra touch with hibiscus and ginger. 

Wishing you a wonderful and safe holiday!


- 750ml red wine
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 large oranges, one sliced and the other juiced
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 15 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers
- fresh ginger, sliced

Pour about 250ml of wine into a saucepan and add the sugar, along with the orange juice, orange slices and all the spices. Bring to a boil and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the wine and heat for a further 5 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before serving. Use a ladle to pour the wine into glasses and garnish the drinks with an orange slice, a star anise and/or cinnamon stick.

mulled wine

mulled wine

mulled wine

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Vegan Holiday Gift Guide 2020 | 10 Unique, Ethical and Sustainable Gift Ideas

It’s that time of the year again and I’ve curated a downright awesome Christmas gift guide to inspire you this festive season. If you’re looking to support vegan-friendly independent businesses and ethical companies, then this guide has your name written all over it. From tree planting, to online cooking course vouchers, to superfood skincare, there’s a lot that your foodie / vegan friends and loved ones will appreciate. Happy shopping!

1. Treedom 

A tree is the greatest gift you could give, with far-reaching benefits for our planet and the lives of smallholder farmers. Treedom is a tree-planting company that allows you to plant a tree and gift it to your loved ones. No shipping costs or wrapping paper needed (making it a fab last minute gift idea!) With this gift, you get to support agroforestry projects around the world, restore local ecosystems and provide additional income opportunities for smallholder farmers. It’s easy to gift a tree via email, text or direct message. As far as sustainable presents go, this ticks all the boxes! Gift a tree and use promo code TOMI20 to get 20% off! 


2. Zesttt For Life Jewellery 

Handmade real fruit jewellery founded by Abi. Made in London and available internationally. These fruit earrings are fun, unique, beautiful and great conversation starters. The fruit is dehydrated for a few days then coated in resin to preserve its natural state. Gift the Real Orange Earrings


3. Online Cooking Course - Traditional Nigerian Snacks

I’m very excited to include my newest online course in this guide because I truly believe that it makes for a unique virtual gift. Your vegan or foodie loved ones will love learning how to recreate a delicious selection of popular Nigerian snacks from scratch. A great way to learn a bit more about our rich food culture. They’ll have lifetime access to the recipes and can work through it at their own pace. Gift the online snack course


4. Live Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes by Haile Thomas

This vibrant cookbook combines nutrition-packed vegan recipes with advice and insights on improving your mental and emotional wellbeing. A beautiful and uplifting vegan cookbook that leaves you feeling empowered. Gift Haile’s cookbook


5. Dapaah Chocolate

Luxury, hand-crafted dairy-free chocolate made with coconut milk and cocoa from Ghana. Dapaah Chocolate was founded by Raphael Dapaah in 2016 after returning from a tour of his maternal grandmother’s cocoa plantation in the western region of Ghana. Their long term goal is to build a sustainable chocolate factory in Ghana, in order to create new jobs, opportunities, and better wages for local cocoa farming communities. Gift the Mmiensa Collection featuring the dark, mylk and white chocolate bars. 


6. The Glowcery 

100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare made from fresh, nutrient-dense superfood ingredients. Founded by Roshanne in March 2020, the brand aims to create products that protect, nourish and soothe your skin. What’s more, the entire packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable. Gift the Mini Skinfood Basket which contains x1 Clean Greens Superfood Serum, x1 Coconut Crumble Superfood Lip Scrub and x1 Sweet Orange Superfood Lip Balm. 


7. Oré Mi Candles

Oré mi means ‘My friend’ in Yoruba. The independent candle company was founded in 2019 by Karen Olla and Stephen Turner, with the aim of spreading awareness around mental health and how candles can promote wellbeing and calmness. All the candles are made from soya wax, making them vegan-friendly, and they come in a range of signature scents inspired by Karen’s Nigerian heritage. Gift the Coconut & Lime 150g Candle


8. Vegan Sweet Treats Selection

Lovingly hand-made treats that are vegan and gluten-free. Made by Sonya who promotes healthy eating habits through her platform Sonya’s Healthy Kitchen. Choose between a taste bag with 10 items (perfect stocking filler), a small box or a medium box. The recipient will get a selection of mini Christmas-themed goodies such as marzipan sweets, truffles, fudge, waffles, doughnuts, cookies and cakes. Gift these sweet treats


9. Bespoke Binny 

African print homeware founded by Natalie who has combined her love of sewing with vibrant African prints inspired by her West African heritage. The colourful aprons, oven mitts and oven gloves will put a smile on any passionate home cook’s face. On her platform, you’ll also find a range of tableware, pillows, cushions, lampshades, notebooks and more! Gift an apron or oven glove


10. The Essential Vegan Toolkit by Sara Botero

Sara is an activist and illustrator. In her gorgeously illustrated and comprehensive vegan guide, she details the many reasons to make the switch to veganism, offering tons of practical advice on nutrition, clothing, travelling and other lifestyle choices. The perfect gift for anyone who’s considering going vegan and in need of some inspiration and guidance. Gift Sara’s book.


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