I love spice, herbs, and exotic tastes like rose and pistachio, cardamon, coconut, saffron, coriander, fresh foreign fruit like lychees, mango, bananas.
However, wherever I go I am amazed by how much better the native food tastes than the copies in Britain. There's little better than palak (spinach) or pumpkin sauteed in spices by an Indian mum, or a fiery vegetable jalfrezi, a home recipe for samosas and warming gajar ka halwa. Lassie has never tasted so refreshing than the one I had in Jaipur at a home kitchen restaurant. My boyfriend's parents are incredible cooks. I could never again drink english soya hot chocolate after ciocolatta calda made with ciobar, or Mama's pasta e fagioli, risotto con fungi, torta di salata.
This turned me to return to my roots to show off simple English cooking. As a vegan, it's not so tasty, most meat dishes looked bland anyway. However, I'm a big fan of English puddings, and every so often enjoy a hearty vegetable stew with dumplings. I also enjoy the food of an English afternoon tea, replacing the tea with espresso or chai please.
I aim to explore English food and it's vegan potential, and aim to create elegant sweets such as those presented to Queen Victoria, for example, this vegan adaptation of the Victoria sponge sandwich cake. There are so many other puddings and cakes I want to try to make simply however, some of which I've already had success with, sticky toffee pudding, spotted dick, jam roly poly, bakewell tart, treacle tart, crumble, bread and butter pudding, banoffee pie, egg custard tart, mincemeat strudel, and many others.
I eventually, after ages of experimenting with egg replacers and having too dense cakes, used the golden vanilla cupcake recipe from 'vegan cupcakes will take over the world, only used two victoria sandwich tins instead of muffin cases.
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt (increase salt to ½ teaspoon if you’re using oil instead of margarine)
½ cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened, or ⅓ cup canola oil
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. almond extract, caramel extract, or more vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two sandwich tins.
2. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside for a few minutes to get good and curdled.
3. If using margarine: Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.
# In a separate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. (Don’t beat past 2 minutes.) Beat in the vanilla and other extract, if using, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times.
# If using oil: Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until no large lumps remain.
# Distribute mix between the two tins and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let cool completely before frosting.
Vegan Buttercream, I just used the normal recipe on the icing sugar packet but replaced the butter for Pure soya butter. I spread the buttercream thickly over one half of the cake. I spread 3 tbsp of bonne maman raspberry jam on the other half, and sandwiched them together. To finish, I sprinkled caster sugar on top.