One of the (many) great things about veganism’s recent surge in popularity is the huge range of new vegan cookbooks arriving on the shelves. If you follow this blog you won’t have been allowed to miss the news of my book Vegan in 15 being published in January, (sorry!), and today I’m sharing with you a new book from fellow blogger Sharon from Bit of the Good Stuff.
Sharon’s book Bit of the Good Stuff is subtitled “over 100 plant-powered recipes for all the family to enjoy”, and it does exactly what it promises – the recipes are quick and easy, and those I’ve tried have been a hit with all the family. Hearty and delicious suppers that are packed with flavour and don’t taste in the slightest bit “free-from” anything, alongside sweet treats and 3-year-old friendly snacks and breakfast ideas which have been very popular in our house.
Chapters include Breakfasts & Elevenses, Soups, Lunches & Light Dinners, Mains, and Desserts, Treats & Snacks. To give you a flavour of the contents, recipes I’ve tried or are on my ‘to do’ list include Maple Pecan Granola Clusters, Crêpe-style Pancakes, Carrot Cake Waffles, Mexican Black Bean Soup, Malaysian Coconut Noodle Soup, Green Pea Tostadas, Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche, Caribbean Curry with Fried Plantain, Spanish Veggie Paella, Gourmet Goa Burgers, Pina Colada ‘Cheesecake’, Pecan Topped Banana Bread, and Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
The recipes I’ve tried have all been excellent – easy to follow, with well-written instructions and sensible portion sizes. Ingredients are almost all easy to find in supermarkets, (unlike many vegan cookbooks!), and the book is also packed with really helpful tips for a plant-powered lifestyle.
One of my favourite recipes is these pretty Dark Chocolate Florentines with Cranberry and Orange, which I’ve made a few times now, (including a triple batch this afternoon for a cake sale!). They are such a lovely teatime treat, and make a thoughtful homemade gift from the kitchen.
Sharon has kindly agreed that I can share the recipe with you below, so here goes:
- 30g toasted flaked almonds
- 30g / 2 tbsp dairy-free spread / vegan butter
- 30g / 3 tbsp unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar
- 30ml / 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 18g / 2 tbsp wholemeal flour
- 30g / 3 tbsp dried cranberries (preferably sweetened with fruit juice), finely chopped
- zest of 1 unwaxed/organic orange
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (or dark choc chips)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) / 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.
- Crush the almonds between your fingers to break them up.
- In a small pan, gently heat the dairy-free spread/butter. Once it has melted, whist in the sugar and syrup. Remove from the heat and whisk in the flour. Stir in the almonds, cranberries and zest. You want to get the mixture as uniform as possible so that the florentines spread evenly as they bake.
- Drop six rounded teaspoons of mixture onto one baking sheet. Be sure to space them out to give them plenty of room to spread. Add another six teaspoons to the second baking sheet. Using damp fingers, press down on the florentines to flatten slightly and shape into circles.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, or until the edges of the florentines have browned. Leave to cool. (They will be very soft when they come out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool).
- Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl). When the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat. If the chocolate is very runny, stir until it thickens slightly. Using a knife, coat the bottom of each florentine. Before the chocolate sets, wiggle a fork across it to form a wavy pattern.
- Chill the florentines until fully set, then transfer to an airtight container. Stored in the refrigerator, they will keep for at least a couple of weeks. They also freeze really well
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the book for review – there was no expectation of a positive review. Amazon links above are affiliate links – I will receive a small commission if you purchase the book via these links. Many thanks for your support.