Wednesday 21 December 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!! (and a festive recipe round up for you)

First, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and fabulous New Year, thank you all for following, for commenting and e-mailing me throughout the year. You're the reason I do all this so thank you muchly!!

I realize this post may be a bit late, but I thought I would do a round up of some of our favourite holiday recipes featured on this blog, some of them from years ago. With the exception of the Nuts n Bolts and White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread posts below I haven't been doing any 'new' recipes this December, instead I've been making our standard holiday favourites, so, here they are!

Holiday Baking Favourites:

vegan eggnog knots

Mint Chocolate Thins

Vegan Marzipan Mince Pies

Hot Toddy Cupcakes

Holiday Favourites from my Danish Heritage:

Features from our Christmas Dinner:

Vegan Tourtiere: - we now always use the puy lentil version

Chocolate Mousse Dome Cake - I made it Grand Marnier flavoured this year and decorated it like a christmas pud :-) I'll post the cake recipe when I finally perfect it!

Once again I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, that's it for me this year, I'm done my holiday baking and have put the tripod away!  Looking forward to the New Year and blogging new recipes and experiments then, for now, best wishes for the holidays and thanks again for all your support!

Much love,

Monday 12 December 2011

Vegan Nuts 'n Bolts Party Mix

Vegan Nuts 'n Bolts

Well, here's another one for the vegan ex-pats! I realize those of you not from North America will most likely have no idea what I'm on about here. Nuts 'n Bolts is a snack food back home that I have always seriously loved. I cannot tell you how many boxes of this stuff I went through as a child and as we only seemed to buy them during the Christmas holidays, they are forever connected that way to me.

It's a seasoned mix of pretzel sticks (the bolts) cherrios (the nuts) shreddies (or similar) and back home they had either these weird cheesy squares that were hard OR the last time I had them these light cheesy sticks in them. I couldn't veganize those but thankfully they were always my least favourite in the mix so not missed at all! Oh and yes, it is essential to stick the cherrios onto the pretzels whilst eating these - food and a toy! Win, Win!!

I've been wanting to make my own for awhile now as I know lots of people do. A quick search online will show up LOADS of recipes but the seasoning mix seems to be basically the same: oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, celery salt and onion salt. This was pretty darn easy to make vegan, simply use vegan Worcestershire sauce and my only concern in making this was as only ex-pats know: European Cherrios are quite different from North American Cherrios. They are multi-grain here and crucially sweeter which I wasn't sure would work but it's all I had so went ahead anyway...

Thankfully this turned out really good, the Cherrios are sweeter which isn't authentic but in the end I really liked them in there! The seasoning was almost just like the original Nuts 'n Bolts, it reminded me SO much of them and while it is not spot on it is a beautiful homage to them. The most common thing they with the original however is their more-ishness - these are impossible to stop eating!!!

Just don't drink too much whisky and ginger ale with them like I did and start calling them Buts 'n Nolts.... :-)

Vegan Nuts 'n Bolts

Nuts 'n Bolts Party Mix:

80g plain Shreddies
50g plain Cherrios
60g pretzle sticks
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce ( I love Biona brand)
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp onion salt
1/8 tsp celery salt

First a note on the seasoning mix there, I only had celery seed and onion powder so used those and added some salt instead and it worked fine. You could use garlic powder as well and adjust the salt yourself. I suggest making half this the first time so you can adjust the seasoning to suit yourself, the recipe is very forgiving and adjustable :-)

If your pretzel sticks are too long as mine were simply snap them into smaller pieces and toss in a bowl with the Cherrios and Shreddies (both of which are labelled as vegan on Nestle's European website, other countries may be different so do check your own).

Preheat the oven to a very low 100C/ 200F. Whisk together the oil, Worcester sauce and salts then pour over the mix and toss very well with your hands until everything is lightly coated. Spread out onto a baking sheet or two and bake for about an hour - give the mix a toss about every 15 minutes. Leave to cool then tip into a serving bowl and serve, great for parties and holiday get-togethers. Makes 1 medium size bowl of mix, double or triple as you need.

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Thursday 1 December 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread

Vegan Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread

Yay for December! I've been a little jealous of all the holiday baking, blog posts and talk of Christmas decorations going up but I have one rule: NOTHING in November! Ok, sure, I made those mince pie croissants but otherwise no, it's too early. Well, it's game on now :-) After this blog post I'm getting out the boxes of decorations and going for it. Have I mentioned I love Christmas?

These turned out beautifully. Cranberry and white chocolate is such a nice combination, it's one of my favourites and while I have made cookies before which were nice I haven't had a hand at vegan shortbread and saw these in a recipe so thought I would have a go veganizing it. The cookie itself has a great texture, holds together really well - it doesn't even crumble apart whilst cutting it and is nice and crisp yet melts in your mouth like a shortbread should. As much as I love the cranberries and white chocolate in these I will also try this recipe plain as I think it would make great 'regular' shortbread too.

Vegan Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread

The flavour is so good as well but I did a little cheat here: butter flavour extract. Even though the vegan margarine I use, Vitalite, has a really buttery flavour I felt shortbread needed a little boost to get it super buttery... and yes, it is actually vegan!  You don't want to use much of it though as too much will give your shortbread a rather artificial taste but just a touch of it does give sweet treats that are normally very buttery tasting, well, buttery tasting!

We all have loved these, including the boy who actually came home from school when these were baking and said, "It smells great in here!! I smell white chocolate!" Oh, to be the child of a food blogger :-)

Vegan Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread

Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread: makes 8 large wedges or 12 smaller wedges.

120g plain flour - 1 cup minus 2 Tbsp
30g cornstarch - 1/4 cup
1/4 tsp salt
120g vegan butter - 1/2 cup
75g icing sugar - 1/2 cup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp butter extract - optional, can replace with more vanilla or almond
50g dried sweetened cranberries - 1/3 cup chopped
50g vegan white chocolate buttons - 1/3 cup chopped

Line the bottom of a 7" round cake tin with baking paper. You can easily double this recipe as well and line 2 cake tins or one 9 x 13" cake tin. Preheat the oven to 150C (300F).

Mix together the flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter with the icing sugar and extracts until very creamy. Stir in the flour until all combined then fold in the chopped cranberries and white chocolate.

Spoon it into the prepared pan/s and with well floured hands press the mixture evenly into the prepared tins. Prick all over with a floured fork and bake for between 40 - 50 minutes. My first batch I did 50 minutes but it was a little overcooked, you just want the edges turning lightly golden. My second batch I did 45 and that was just right for my oven.

Let cool in the tin on a wire rack for 30 minutes then remove and slice while warm. I used a serrated knife here as I found it easiest. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or let cool to warm temperature.

Once fully cool these also pack up really well as they don't fall apart making perfect gifts. I wrapped some up in brown baking paper and tied a ribbon around with a little hand made label.

Vegan Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread

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Friday 25 November 2011

Other Blogger's Recipes - Part 2

So, this is a continuation of the blog post I did back in May of this year of other blogger's recipes. Something I do not do as often as I should!  One is from a blog that is no longer available and the other is from a restaurant's website. Both are amazing and we now have them regularly - well, maybe not the brownies regularly ;-) Honest!!

Super Fudgy Brownies  - originally from the (now gone) blog "Not A Rabbit" reposted at "Cooking Vegan Food Up North"

♥ Aaaah, look at that perfect crackly topping!! ♥


I have so many people to thank for this recipe. First, the original author of the blog "Not a Rabbit" - unfortunately I had never seen this blog and it's now gone, sad, because if this brownie recipe is anything to go by it must have been a good one! Second, Fanny at "Cooking Vegan Food Up North" for saving the recipe and reposting it, and third, Julia at "Snarky Vegan" for tweeting about this recipe and providing the link to it.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to have this recipe in my life. You may have noticed that despite having over 250 recipes on this blog I don't have a basic brownie recipe. This is down to me searching for the perfect one, I tried so many, and to be fair they were all good. I mean a brownie can't really be bad can it?!? But I really wanted that crackly thin skin topping ALL good brownies should have, as well as a really dense super fudgy texture bursting with full on chocolate flavour. This one ticks all those boxes. So the search is over and this one is so perfect in every way I'm not even gutted I didn't come up with it!! It really is the BEST brownie recipe. EVER!

I hope this is ok but as the original blog is gone I'm also going to post the recipe here because I have converted the one posted at Northern Veg there into grams and ml's for those of us on this side of the Atlantic. I also didn't have vanilla sugar so added some vanilla extract. Just click on the recipe link above to get the original in cups if you prefer.

Super Fudgy Brownies

150g granulated sugar - must be this type, not caster
60ml vegetable oil
125ml chocolate soya milk 
160g dark chocolate
80g plain flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Line a 7 or 8 inch square baking tin with baking paper, mine was actually 6 inch, and preheat the oven to 180C.

Place the sugar in a blender and whizz until it's a fine powder and tip into a large bowl. As the original poster states, do not omit this part, it's what gives the brownies their crackly topping. I also thought I would just omit this step and use caster sugar instead but I'm glad I didn't. Granulated sugar blended comes out somewhat in between caster and icing sugar so I'm sure this step is essential, at any rate it's dead simple!

Mix together the flour and sifted cocoa powder and set aside.

Pour the oil, chocolate soya milk and vanilla into the sugar and mix well.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave and quickly whisk into the oil/sugar mixture.

Quickly stir in the flour/cocoa mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon until it all comes together.

Pour/scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Mine took 20 minutes in a fan oven.

Leave to fully cool then refrigerate for a couple of hours before cutting. It wasn't explained why this is but I think if you try and cut them whilst warm they might just fall apart. I did as told and they came out perfect, once I cut them though I stored them at room temperature. 

Cut into whatever size you like, I got 16 small squares out of this as even though they are small, they are 140 calories per square ;-) SO worth it though!

Slow Roasted Red Peppers with Chickpeas, Smoked Paprika and Fresh Sage by Demuths Vegetarian Restaurant


Demuth's is a Vegetarian restaurant in Bath, England who also have a blog. Sadly despite living in England for 12 years we never got the pleasure to eat there. Thankfully I follow them on twitter and one day they tweeted a link to this recipe on their website. I knew I had to try it right away as it had all my favourite flavours there and just sounded amazing!

This is absolutely delicious, so simple, versatile and now on our regular dinner rotation. Once, I had no cherry tomatoes but had mushrooms so added those instead, it was equally as good. So good in fact I now add both mushrooms and tomatoes on most occasions. They recommended a side with it and I opted for a lemon couscous which I think goes lovely with the flavours in the slow roasted peppers.

What's really nice in this is besides the deeply roasted peppers is that the chickpeas in the peppers stay soft but the ones outside of the peppers get all roasted crispy providing a different taste and texture in the dish. Sometimes I use fresh sage, sometimes dried, like I said, it's very versatile. Their recipe called for sweet paprika but I used smoked as I'm sure most of you who have followed me for awhile it's hands down my favourite spice :-)

Before going in the oven

So there you go, a couple more outstanding recipes found online, mostly thanks to twitter! 

I keep looking at these two recipes here thinking, damn, that would make a fine meal, roasted red peppers and couscous and brownies for dessert :-) Being vegan is fantastically tasty!
This photo is from Feb. 2013 - we are still loving it! As you can see we have a reduced portion these days though, just half a pepper each. I also now use wholegrain couscous which works just as well.

Perfect Gingerbread from Kake's Vegan Cookery Site


Please excuse the rather boring photo here, I took this last year in a rush and haven't gotten around to taking better photos of this. Regardless, I have been making this gingerbread for years now, ever since we became vegan and it really is perfection. The flavour and spices are spot on and look at that texture! It's absolutely heavenly and fills your kitchen with the most amazing wintry spices. I've served this to many omnivores who have also raved about it. The cream there is my rummed up vegan whipped cream I like to serve with my Marzipan Mince Pies, they go really well together :-)

I was also very honoured to be given a 'Liebster Blog' award by Sophia over at 'What Your Momma Didn't Know' (BEST Blog name EVER!!) :-D  Thank you so much!

Here are the rules if you would like to participate:

1. Show your thanks by linking back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Choose 5 of your picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the blogger love!

I've decided to use this opportunity to pimp some great Irish Vegan Blogs, here they are!

4. Full Irish Vegan - sadly not sure this is updated anymore :-(

...and I think that's it! If I am missing any Vegan Irish Blogs here, please let me know, would love to connect!

Friday 18 November 2011

Champagne Celebration Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream

Champagne Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream

♥ Vanilla Champagne cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream ♥

Champagne Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream

♥ Mmmm, cake at many angles! ♥

Champagne Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream

Champagne Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream

♥ Mini Non-Alcoholic version I made for my son - adult only this cake people! ♥

Yay! I'm back to cake with no ready made ingredients!! I decided to bake up a rather special cake to celebrate us living in our new house 1 year, not that I usually need an excuse ;-) This turned out so well but was a rather glorious mistake.... I came up with this idea whilst on my personal baking holy grail - the perfect vegan white cake. It has eluded me so far despite numerous attempts and nothing online works. I should add here I'm being very picky, I want my vegan white cake to be white, fluffy with a delicate crumb and perfect vanilla flavour. Surely that's not too much to ask is it?

Now, the chocolate cake I always use is perfect. It's the basic wacky cake recipe that's out there and I love it. Chocolaty but also really light and fluffy with a fine crumb. Not a dense, gummy or heavy crumb in sight, which got me thinking it you omit the cocoa powder it should be the same, right? No. I believe this is the version on veg web that others seem to like but it's not for me. Without the cocoa powder we were back to dense, heavy and gummy. I used the veg web version there for my son's cake and he wasn't very happy with it :-(

The wacky cake works by the acid of the vinegar reacting with the alkaline baking soda which was still in the white cake version so I couldn't' figure out why it didn't' work. Turns out that cocoa powder is itself acidic and can't really be omitted. I then looked into replacing the water with sparkling water to help give it a lift. Sparkling water has a slightly more acidity level than regular water but not as much as cocoa powder. I then wondered about Champagne. Turns out it has the same acidity level as cocoa powder. Perfect!! I was convinced this would work, it certainly did on paper.

Well, sadly no. I didn't' get my white, fluffy cake here, but I did get a really moist, flipping delicious cake! I was so obsessed with getting the texture right in this cake that I forgot just how much Champagne was going into it, and believe me, you can taste it! This is a good thing :-) This cake has a really nice and boozy taste to it which went beautifully with the Peach Bellini Buttercream. If I could describe the texture here, it's somewhat like what a cake drizzled with a syrup might be like, a boozy syrup at that, it really is that moist and tastes incredible.

SO, the quest for the perfect vegan white cake continues, but, I have at least found another albeit completely different style cake I love in the process, and that's never a bad thing!

Oh and that buttercream is amazing, I am so glad it turned out as you can't buy peach extract here I debated on how to make it. I would have liked to have used fresh peaches but felt as they are not in season they would just be too watery. The canned worked great as the flavour was more concentrated and made it a bit easier too :-)

Champagne Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream

Champagne Celebration Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream: 

400g plain flour
300g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
160ml vegetable oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
480ml chilled Champagne, or sparkling wine
1 can peaches in light syrup (standard 400g tin)
100g vegan butter
6 cups or about 840g icing sugar
1 Tbsp Champagne

For the cake, I used a loose bottomed, high sided 6" cake pan. This is probably a unique sized pan and you can just use 2 standard sized cake pans here. Your cake will probably be wider and not as high as mine however. Line the bottoms of the pans with baking paper and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together the wet. Pour the wet into the dry and whisk until combined and no lumps remain. Pour into the prepared pan/s and bake, mine took 1 hour as it was all cooked together, if you are cooking 2 pans, check with a toothpick after 1/2 hour, if it comes out doughy keep cooking until it is firm to the touch, golden and the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for about 15 minutes then remove from the pans onto a wire rack to fully cool.

Peach Bellini Buttercream:

First you want to make a concentrated peach puree. Drain the peaches - you don't have to save the liquid. I used peaches in light syrup here, I'm sure peaches in juice would work as well. Tip them all into a blender and blend until very smooth. Push this mixture through a fine sieve to get it as fine as possible. Now pour this into a saucepan and bring to the heat. You want to simmer this mixture down until it is much thicker and more concentrated. That way it won't make your icing runny, resulting in having to add even more sugar and it will give you a strong peachy taste. Simmer, stirring constantly until it is thick enough that when you move the wooden spoon along the middle of the mixture it stays separated for a brief time before coming together again. In the end you should have 1/2 cup of puree. Pop this into the fridge to fully cool and thicken some more.

In a mixer add the vegan butter and mix until soften, or by hand. Add some of the peach puree and some of the icing sugar and mix until well blended. When it's a bit dry add the Champagne then continue to add the puree and icing sugar until all is added. If it's too wet, add some more icing sugar, too dry, add a bit more Champagne. You want it too be a thick yet spreadable frosting.


If you have cooked just one large cake like I did, carefully slice it in half and separate the halves. Place one half on a cake stand and frost generously with the peach buttercream. Place the other half on top and frost the whole cake, top and sides. The buttercream recipe makes way more than you need for this cake as it's nice to have extra if you would like to pipe designs along the cake. I kept mine simple as I found these super cute Wafer Daisy's by Dr. Oetker - so cute and vegan! Actually they're not just vegan but really not bad for you at all, just rice and potato flour and the colours come from beetroot and turmeric- all natural! Nice.

Champagne Cake with Peach Bellini Buttercream

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Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
♥ Based on Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup ♥

First, I must apologize for posting another 'chicken' post featuring a ready made product - my 3rd this month! My new followers must be thinking, wtf?!? I don't normally post so much with a ready made product but I have recently discovered these and absolutely love them.

More than that though I have been doing a lot of "nostalgia cooking" lately. Like the Crispy Almond Chicken post below this is another dish I had growing up and have missed. It's veganizing dishes like this that I think are the most enjoyable, the ones that bring a smile to your face because they bring back so many memories. My rullepolse post probably was my favourite one to veganize for that reason, it was like every single Christmas brought right back to me :-)

Back in elementary school I used to walk home for lunch almost every day as we lived so close and more often than not I would have a bowl of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. Let's face it, it might not be very healthy but it's a standard. I thought it would veganize well for two reasons:

1. Finding that vegan chicken I like and
2. The vegan stock powder I use is a golden yellow hue like Campbell's due to having some turmeric in it and even though it's not based on a chicken stock I've always found it reminded me of a light chicken stock.

This does of course mean that I have veganized a product you can only buy in North America (Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup) with ingredients I think you can only buy in Europe. Oh well, one for all the vegan ex-pats over here then!!

I opted for Udon Noodles here to replicate the thickness of Campbell's and just broke them up into 4ths to be easier to eat. I chopped the chicken into small pieces while still frozen, it's easy to do and you do want to cook these from frozen so they don't cook to mush. It's all simply cooked in the stock powder which does remind me so much of Campbell's broth and when you cook the chicken in it the chicken flavouring comes out in the broth as well. In the end I stir in a pat of vegan butter just for a bit of richness and to help give the broth a glossy hue.

Altogether this was a beautiful version of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and even with the highly processed vegan ready made chicken, bags healthier than their version!

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup - a la Campbell's ;-) - Serves 1

40g Udon Noodles, broken into third's
30g Fry's Chicken Style Strips, frozen, chopped small 
1 tsp Marigold Vegan Stock Powder
1 tsp vegan butter, I use Vitalite
400ml water

Note - you can pre boil the udon for 8 -10 minutes in salted water, drain then use as instructed below if you want a softer noodle as Campbell's noodles are very soft. I did this the second time I made it and preferred it this way. I also discovered that it's pretty much impossible to overcook udon!

Bring the water and stock powder to the boil and add the noodles. Cover and simmer for 8 -10 minutes, or according to your package directions. When there is a few minutes left add the chicken and simmer until cooked, it'll only take a few minutes. At the very end stir in the butter until melted. Serve immediately with some fresh bread and vegan butter, perfect on a cold wintry day.

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

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Tuesday 15 November 2011

Crispy Fried Almond 'Chicken' with Gravy (Soo Guy)

Crispy Fried Almond Chicken - Vegan

♥ Crispy fried breaded 'chicken' with a soy sauce gravy and toasted almonds ♥

Vegan Crispy Fried Almond Chicken with Gravy

You know what's winning? Having a massive craving for this crispy almond chicken you used to get from your local Chinese takeaway in Canada ages ago and instantly veganizing it to perfection. Word. I simply cannot get over how perfect this turned out, it really is just as I remembered!  I really have no idea what made me think of this dish I used to love so much, but I did, and had to make it then and there.

So I had a search online and discovered that it's actually quite a uniquely Canadian-Chinese dish. Sometimes just called 'Crispy Almond Chicken' or 'Soo Guy' it is usually a chicken breast, either breaded or battered, fried and served sliced on a bed of shredded lettuce with a brown gravy and toasted almonds. Back home when we would order Chinese this was always what I looked forward to the most. So much so that my mom used to have to buy two because despite ordering a large selection of food I would pretty much eat just the crispy fried almond chicken. Yeah...she's surprised I'm now vegan too.

Despite there not really being a lot of recipes out there for this I got the general idea: fried breaded chicken, gravy - probably soy sauce based, lettuce and toasted almonds. As I mentioned in the Vegan Chicken, Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Sausage Roll post I have finally found ready made vegan chicken I love - Fry's chicken strips and thought to base this on those. Similarly to the rolls I first lightly boiled the frozen chicken to defrost, soften and to make a chicken stock which I then used to make the gravy.

As for the breading part - this I am most excited about. I have been struggling to get breaded items to have a  really crispy coating that does not fall apart whilst frying without eggs. For these I tossed the lightly boiled chicken strips in cornflour, then my homemade 'egg' mixture of cornflour, baking powder, xanthan gum, water and vegetable oil then into the breadcrumbs. Once fried these came out perfect! Thick, super crispy breadcrumb coating that does not fall apart. I really can't wait to try this with other foods too.

Without the gravy - look how crispy!!

Altogether this was such a win. I cannot convey to you how much this reminded me of that dish I used to love so much. The best part is having that gravy soak into the crispy breaded coating - heaven!

Vegan Soo Guy

Crispy Fried Almond Chicken with Gravy (Soo Guy) - serves 2 as a side

50g Fry's chicken style strips, or similar, frozen

1 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp vegetable oil
50 ml water
*OR just some unsweetened soy yogurt

25g breadcrumbs, I like to use freshly made from stale bread here, or panko.
2 Tbsp chopped almonds

extra cornflour to coat
shredded lettuce to serve
vegetable oil to fry

2 Tbsp cornflour
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vegan butter
4 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 cups water

* 2014 EDIT - I've recently discovered that dipping the "chicken" into unsweetened soy yogurt after some cornflour works just as well as my homemade egg replacer and is, less face it - easier!

First toast the chopped almonds in a wok until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside and give the wok a wipe with a dry towel as you'll be using it to fry later.

In a small saucepan bring the 1 1/2 cups of water for the sauce to the boil. Add the frozen chicken strips and lightly boil with the lid on for 3 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon or a couple of forks and drain on a clean kitchen towel. Do not dump the water! Add the vegan butter and soy sauce to the chicken stock and heat until the butter melts then turn off the heat. In another saucepan mix the cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water until smooth then slowly add the chicken soy stock until all is added. Heat and stir until thick and glossy. Check seasoning, turn off heat and set aside.

In a small bowl add the cornflour, baking powder and xanthan gum and whisk. Add the water and vegetable oil and whisk really well until it is smooth and really thick. Toss the drained chicken strips into some more cornflour, then coat them in the batter (or some unsweetened soy yogurt) then into the breadcrumbs. It's easiest to have one hand for the batter and the other hand for the breadcrumbs here. Keep going until all the strips are coated and place them on a plate ready to fry.

Heat about an inch or two of vegetable oil  in the wok you used to toast the almonds until it is very hot. Gently place the breaded chicken into the oil and fry until crisp and golden on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the chicken is fried.

Reheat the gravy and give it a whisk- if it has thickened too much, you can also add a bit more water. Place some shredded lettuce on a plate, top with the fried chicken then spoon over the gravy generously. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds and serve immediately. These are nice on their own, with a bowl of rice or as part of a larger Chinese style buffet.

The only photo I got of them cut open, too busy eating!!

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