Vegan Bailey’s Irish Cream

Oh, I’ve missed this! Before children came along, and the realization that I couldn’t consume dairy products had materialized, the ultimate self-indulgence for me was to spend an evening on my own, poring over a jigsaw puzzle, and drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream. A couple of years ago, friends brought a bottle over as part of a dinner party, and all I could do was look sadly at it. Not so any more. This version is thick and creamy, festive and comforting; just right for the on-coming holiday season. Note that this mixture thickens as it sits, and you should either drink it immediately (poured over ice-cubes to chill), or expect to have to adjust the consistency with water or brandy (your choice).

Cashew Bailey's

1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
6 tbsp soft brown sugar
6 tbsp brandy

Put all ingredients into a blender (preferably high speed), and blend until smooth.

Chill in the fridge until required. Adjust consistency with water/brandy if required.

Serve in sherry glasses, or in a tumbler on the rocks.

Happy Holidays! 🙂


Creamy Pesto Sauce (Dairy Free)

This creamy pesto sauce is remarkably rich for being vegan, and almost all the fat comes from the pinenuts (there’s no added oil, as there is in regular pesto). This is much better for my poor tummy that can’t cope with high fat pesto. It’s also very quick to make, so I start making mine after putting the pasta water on to boil. The first time I made this version of the sauce, I blended the basil along with the other ingredients, and although it tasted good, it was a very vivid green, surprising enough for Halloween! I think the little flecks of basil look good in the sauce, which is why I now add the basil after the other ingredients have been thoroughly blended.

As a last note: don’t try using the basil stems in this dish. I was just a little too pleased with my new Vitamix a few months ago, and tried making pesto using stems and all. It didn’t work. I couldn’t get the stems to blend up smoothly, and ended up throwing the whole lot on the compost heap. I was not a happy bunny!

Creamy Pesto

This amount of sauce generously coats 8 oz of dried GF pasta.

1 cup pinenuts
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp chickpea or other light miso (optional)
20 large to medium, fresh basil leaves (no stems)

If you’re using this sauce for pasta, put the pasta on to boil, first.

Blend all ingredients (except basil) together with 1 cup of water in a blender until completely smooth.

Add the basil leaves, and blend until the sauce is pale green with flecks of basil.

Transfer to a saucepan (with cooked, drained, pasta, if using), and heat (stirring frequently) until thickened (~1 minute, if tossing with hot pasta).

Variation: Dice 2 medium sized tomatoes, and stir them into the sauce when thickening it. The fresh tomatoes are a nice counterpoint to the rich sauce.

Good Old Fashioned Rice Pudding

rice pudding in potI’m not really one for desserts. I have a few favorites, but I generally focus on savory foods. Here, however, is one of my (and my children’s) childhood favorites. Comfort food! This is not some fancy new combination of ingredients or cooking method, it’s a reminder of an old (tweaked) favorite, and a reference for my girls for when they leave home.

I have seen some recipes for this that produce a thin, sweet liquid with cooked rice pieces floating in it, just the way my father-in-law likes it, but this is a thick dessert the way my husband and girls like it (sorry, Alec), soothing, and not too sweet. I really like the taste of dried fruit here, whose flavor gently infuses the rice in the oven, but my husband prefers his plain, so take your pick.

6oz (1 cup) short grain rice (e.g. arborio)
3 pints rice milk
4oz (~1/2 cup) white sugar
1/2 cup dried fruit (e.g. dried cherries, cranberries, or raisins, optional)
1 oz (1/4 stick or 2 tbsp) vegan margarine (e.g. Earth Balance)
sprinkle of nutmeg/cinnamon (optional)

Put the rice and milk in an oven proof saucepan, and bring slowly to a simmer. Allow the rice to simmer gently, stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until barely cooked (~15 mins total). At this point, the dish will still look very thin.


Rice pudding served with tart, jarred, cherries.

Stir in the sugar (and dried fruit, if using), then dollop the margarine on the top to melt, sprinkle the top with nutmeg (if using), and put in the oven (towards the top to promote browning), uncovered, to cook slowly at 350F for 40-45 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the liquid, and a lightly browned skin has formed on the surface where the margarine melted.

Serve as is, or with stewed fruit.

Cabbage Pie

I’ve got to be kidding, right? Cabbage pie! It just so happens that I love this pie filling. It is good in a pastry cased pie (with accompanying chickpea or cashew gravy) or on its own as a pilaf. I’ve made it numerous times, just not recently, and not with GF pastry. I had a bit of a brainwave today, and adjusted my pastry recipe (now reflected on the updated page). This quantity makes enough for a single 8″ pie which feeds 4-6 folks.

Cabbage Pie

Gluten free cabbage pie with an almond pastry, garlicky green beans, and cashew gravy.

½ cup brown rice
1/4 + 1/4 tsp salt
2 + 2 tsps non-hydrogenated margarine
½ large onion, diced
8 oz white cabbage, shredded
8 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb pastry – I like Tender Shortcrust Pastry made with almonds.
2 hard boiled eggs (or same volume of baked tofu)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 – 2 tbsp Braggs Amino Acids (add the lesser amount, taste, and add more if you want it)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaf (a couple of tbsp of chopped basil is different, but would also work)
salt, to taste

Cook the brown rice in twice its volume of water with 1/4 tsp of salt, either in a rice cooker, or in a covered saucepan, until soft all the way through, but not mushy. (~30-40 mins)

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tsps of the margarine, and fry the onion and cabbage until the onion is translucent. Tip this into a mixing bowl.

Now heat the remainder of the margarine in the frying pan, and cook the mushrooms on medium high heat. Sprinkle the mushrooms with 1/4 tsp salt to encourage them to release their juices, and when they do, add the garlic. Cook until the mushroom juices have evaporated. Do not allow the garlic to burn.

Tip the mushrooms and garlic into the bowl with the cabbage.

Stir in all other filling ingredients.

Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.

Divide the pastry into 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the larger part, and use to line the prepared pie plate/tin. (See note on rolling on pastry page.)

Fill with the filling; roll out the smaller part of the pastry and use it to top the pie, crimping the edges together.

Brush the surface with soy milk.

Place in the middle of the oven (lightly covered with parchment to prevent over browning), and cook for 30-35 minutes at 380F.