Colourful Chopped Vegan Salad

This vegan salad can be made quickly and varied to suit your own tastes. The pretty, colourful and healthy salad is also gluten free and will last for several days in a sealed container in the fridge.

1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup cooked sweetcorn
1 large cooked beetroot, diced
1/2 cup diced cucumber
2 tomatoes, diced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 granny smith apple, cored and diced
1 cup mixed salad leaves, chopped finely
1 cup grated carrot
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp cranberries

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well to combine evenly.

Vegan salad gluten free salad vegan gluten free salad

This vegan salad can easily varied to suit your own tastes or to include whatever foods you have to hand. Some suggestions for variations include using different onions, red or white onions could be sliced and chopped for example. Sultanas and raisins also work well in this salad or a combination of several dried fruits could be used. There are a variety of seeds that could be used such as pumpkin, hemp, linseeds and sunflower seeds, all of which contain a variety of vitamins and minerals.

If you do not have to avoid gluten cous cous could be used in place of the quinoa. Wheat berries, rice, cooked lentils or millet could also be used to add variety.


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Searching for Recipes at Elderberry Arts

The Elderberry Arts blog featurs many of the vegan recipes I have created or adapted to be vegan and gluten free. I have added a page in the Writing menu at the top of the page to make these easier to find. This page contains links to each of the currently published recipes. The recipes on this page are organised by the date they were added to the blog, newest first. The recipes can also be search through by using the search box on  the right of each page or using the tag and category cloud links.

Although the vast majority of the recipes on the blog are vegan recipes, there are some that are vegetarian only and a small percentage that contain meat due to the fact that my children eat meat as well. These will be clearly tagged and titled to show this. Feel free to adapt the recipes to suit your own needs but please do not claim them as your own. It would be great to see what you all make.

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Easy Vegan Gluten Free Sausage Casserole

This recipe is for a quick and easy vegan gluten free sausage casserole. I like to use Secret sausages or tofu sausages in this recipe but any will work. Cooking the sausages first isn’t essential but it stops them from swelling up in the liquid and falling apart. If you vegetarian and don’t need to void wheat, Quorn sausages work really well in this casserole. The recipe is pretty versatile and so you can swap in any beans you have in or even used a can of baked beans.

This recipe makes two large portions  and is nice served with mashed potatoes  or with bread to mop up the juices. The casserole cooks in a slow cooker but I have also included cooking times for using an oven instead. If you mix all the ingredients together in the slow cooker bowl or other oven proof dish you can save on washing up too! Fry the onions and mushrooms a little before combining with the other ingredients if preferred.

Vegan Gluten Free Sausage Casserole

8 vegan and gluten free sausages, partly cooked/browned
1 onion, sliced
50g mushrooms, sliced
1 500g cartoon of passata
1 can of beads, drained
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp garlic

1. Mix together the onion, mushrooms, passata, beans, garlic and paprika to create the casserole sauce.

2. Add the sausages and mix until they are covered in the sauce.

3. Cook in a slow cooker on high for 2 hours or alternatively cover and cook for 30-35 minutes at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.


For an all in one meal:

  • Boil 250g/9oz of potatoes until tender.
  • While the potatoes are cooking prepare the casserole up to step 2 and place in an oven proof dish.
  • Mash the potatoes with a little vegan spread.
  • Top the casserole with the mashed potatoes.
  • Cook uncovered for 30-35 minutes at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

vegan gluten free sausage casserole




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Three Ways to Fasten Macrame Jewellery

How To Fasten Macrame Jewellery

This eBook provides step by step instructions and photographs showing you how to create three different fastenings for macramé jewellery. These can be coordinated with the beads in the design to create a more coordinated, consistent and flowing piece. The fastenings can be customised to suit your ow needs and can also be used to create a focal point in the jewellery piece.

These methods of fastening jewellery also use no metal components and so are ideal for creating jewellery suitable for people who have allergies.

Now available on Kindle and through

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Vegan Goulash Recipe (Wheat, Gluten and Nut Free)

Vegan goulash

This is a simple recipe for making a vegan goulash. The recipe contains no wheat, gluten or nuts and is of course meat, dairy and egg free. This recipe is low in fat and has no added salt. If you are using a bought stock or stock cube it is worth checking the salt content as these can be high. This dish can be made using just one pot so saves on washing up too!

There is no need to rehydrate the soya chunks before use as this will happen during the cooking. You could also use frozen soya or other meat substitute chunks to make this vegan goulash if you prefer.

Serves 4

Olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 red pepper, sliced
5 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
600ml hot vegetable stock
500g cartoon passata
100g dried soya chunks

1. In a saucepan, saute the onion in a little oil until softened.

2. Add pepper, paprika, celery seeds and cumin and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

3. Add the hot stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil.

4. Add the soya chunks and mushrooms and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the soya chunks are fully cooked.

Serve with rice, quinoa, pasta or nice crusty bread or simply enjoy the vegan goulash as it is.


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A Guide to Gluten Free Flours

Gluten free flour

Gluten free cake made using a blend of rice, tapioca, maize, potato and buckwheat flours.


Today there is a wide range of gluten free flours available to buy online or in many supermarkets. As well as specific plain, bread and self-raising blends such as those that can be bought from Doves Farm there are many individual naturally gluten free flours.

Almond flour – This can be used in many recipes and is especially nice in cakes and biscuits. It can also be used mixed with a plain flour to create a delicious topping for fruit crumbles. Recipes can be found that call for almond flour alone or you can substitute up to 25% of the flour in most recipes without the finished results being affected negatively.

Buckwheat flour – Buckwheat is not related to wheat at all and so is safe to use for those on a gluten free diet. Despite its name, buckwheat is a fruit seed and is related to rhubarb. It has a mild earthy flavour and is often used to make crepes and blinis.

Brown rice flour – This gluten free flour has a rich earthy, nutty flavour and will add a darker colour to baked items. It can also be used as a thickening agent in soups, stews, casseroles and other dishes and sauces.

Chestnut flour – This sweet flavoured flour is a good choice for desserts and other sweet recipes and is often featured in those that include almonds, chocolate, hazelnuts or honey. Chestnut flour is a staple in Tuscany, where it is known as Farina di Castagne and can be used in a range of recipes including pasta, pie crusts, crepes and cakes.

Coconut flour – Coconut flour absorbs more water than wheat and some other gluten free flours so it is likely that more will be needed when using this. This flour is high in fibre and low in carbohydrates so is also a good choice for people following a low carb diet.

Cornflour – This is generally used as a thicken agent and is generally not suitable for cooking with on its own. Some shortbread and biscuits recipes include a portion of cornflour as it can give these a lighter texture.

Gram flour – Chickpeas are used to make this naturally gluten free flour that is commonly used in Indian cooking. It is used to make flatbreads, pakoras and samosas and is best suited to savoury dishes rather than sweet.

Ground almonds – These are not really flour at all but can be used in baking cakes and biscuits. They can also be used as a substitute for breadcrumbs. Ground almonds can help to add a lighter texture to gluten free baked items.

Maize flour – This light and sweet flour is useful for sweet and savoury dishes and is made by grinding dried corn kernels. Maize flour is lighter than rice and tapioca flours and is low in saturated fat. This gluten free flour may also be called masa or corn flour (not to be confused with the cornflour used as a thickener).

Millet flour – Millet flour is made using ground millet seed. This flour has a sweet nutty flavour and is a good source of many vitamins and minerals. Millet flour is rarely used on its own and is more commonly combined with other flours to make gluten free flour blend.

Potato flour – Like many other non-wheat flours, potato flour is not often used on its own in cooking. It is often combined with rice flour to create a blend closer resembling wheat flour than either alone. Potato flour can be used as a thickener in liquid based foods such as stews but care should be taken not to boil it as this can alter the taste and consistency of the finished dish.

Quinoa flour – This gluten free flour is another that is made from a seed and is very high in protein and fibre. The flour can be produced using milled or un-milled quinoa seeds. The flour can go off very quickly and should be kept in the fridge or frozen to prolong its lifespan. As quinoa flour is more expensive than many other gluten free flours some cooks chose to grind their own using a food processor at home and bought quinoa. Another advantage to this is that you are able to grind only as much as is needed and avoid any waste.

Rice flour – Rice flour is a common ingredient in gluten free recipes and flour blends. Rice flour is used in many countries such as Japan and Thailand to make noodles and desserts and can also be used as a thickening agent. Rice flour is easier to digest than wheat flour so can be a good choice for anyone who has stomach or digestive issues.

Sorghum flour – This is generally available combined with other flours as when used alone sorghum flour creates quite dry baked goods with a unpleasant gritty texture. Adding a little more fat and eggs can also help to improve anything made using this flour. Sorghum is also sometimes known as milo and jowar.

Teff flour – This brown wholegrain flour is milled from one of the smallest grains in the world and is native to North-eastern Africa and South-western Arabia. It has a malt like flavour and is high in protein, calcium, and iron. Teff flour can be used to make delicious gluten free pie crusts, cookies and breads.

Tapioca flour – This is a very useful addition to gluten free baking as it helps to improve the texture of the cooked food. It is mostly used in combination with other flours and helps to add crispness and crunch to foods such as biscuits and pastry.

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Food Names – United Kingdom and America

Many common ingredients are known by different names in America. These include many vegetables, beans,baking ingredients and condiments and make recipes seem confusing or ingredients impossible to find.

I have composed a list of some food names that differ in the United Kingdom and United States to make finding the correct ingredient and following recipes easy.


UK Food Name                    US Food Name

Aubergine                                           Eggplant
Beef mince                                          Ground beef
Bicarbonate of soda                          Baking soda
Broad Beans                                       Fava beans
Caster sugar                                       Superfine sugar
Celeriac                                               Celery root
Chickpeas                                           Garbanzo beans
Chicory                                                Endive
Chips                                                    French fries
Coriander                                            Cilantro
Cornflour                                             Cornstarch
Courgette                                             Zucchini
French/green beans                          String beans
Groundnut oil                                     Peanut oil
Haricot bean                                       Navy beans
Icing sugar                                          Confectioners’ sugar
Plain flour                                           All-purpose flour
Pepper (capsicum)                            Bell pepper
Polenta                                                 Cornmeal
Spring onion                                       Scallions
Swede                                                   Rutabaga
Wholemeal flour                                Whole wheat flour



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Cheap and Easy Vegan and Gluten Free Soup

Vegan and gluten free food does not need to be expensive or complicated in order for it to be delicious and healthy. This hearty cheap and easy vegan and gluten free soup is made using easy to find inexpensive ingredients. In fact it is likely that you have most, if not all of the ingredients at home already. The soup also only takes round thirty minutes to prepare and reheats well.

The recipe is fairly versatile so feel free to switch the vegetables for whatever you have available. You could use white or even spring onions instead of red or use another type of pasta or spaghetti. If you do change the ingredients keep an eye on the cooking times as different vegetables may need more or less time to cook. Broken up gluten free spaghetti could be used in place of the pasta for a minestrone like soup.

I hope you enjoy this vegan and gluten free soup.


vegan and gluten free soup


Serves 4
Total cost – under £2
Time needed – Approximately 30 minutes


1 celery stick, thinly sliced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tbsp oil
500g passata
400ml vegetable stock
1 can of haricot beans, drained
100g gluten free pasta twists
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/8 tsp thyme

1. Heat the oil in large pan and fry the onions, garlic, celery and carrot over a medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Pour in the passata, stock and herbs and bring to the boil.

3. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked through.

4. Add the beans and pasta and cook for a further 8 minutes or until the pasta is tender.


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Save Money on Heating with Cheap and Easy Insulation.

There are many ways to save money on heating your home including switching to a cheaper supplier or taking advantage of special offers and deals, buying portable heaters or electric blanket or wearing more layers of clothes. These are all useful and are things that most people can do easily at home themselves and enable them to stay warmer at less cost. However if there is a problem with your house such as gaps between windows and doors and their frames, no matter how much you wrap up the house will still feel cold and heat from any heating you do lose will be lost to the outdoors.

One room in my house has a set of wooden patio doors that are lovely in the summer but very drafty in winter. Since we moved here three years ago I have tried several ways of fixing the problem to help save money on heating the room, including using door sealing tape to fill some of the gaps. Some were too large and I also found that the tape was not very long lasting. While thinking about what to do to solve the problem that would not be too difficult, very expensive or mean that the room was then far to hot in the summer. I remembered the way many people use bubble wrap to insulate garden greenhouses and thought there was no reason that it would not work for internal windows and doors as well. Even better I had some large sheets of bubble wrap that had come in a parcel that I thought would be perfect for the job.

From start to finish the project took about 30 minutes. I used masking tape to stick the bubble wrap sheets to the door frame so that the gaps between it and the doors where completely enclosed. I decided on masking tape partly because it is easy to tear into pieces and also is likely to be easier to remove once it is warmer again than a more ‘stickier’ tape such as sellotape. Rather than measuring the bubble wrap I stuck it down on one side on the door frame and then held it across to the other side before cutting it to size. The tape needs run the entire length of each piece of bubble wrap otherwise the drafts will come through any gaps. If you need to join the bubble wrap at any point, the joins also need to be completely covered with tape.

The room is now much warmer even when the heating is not on and once the weather is warmer again I can remove the bubble wrap and store it ready for next winter. You do not need to buy special bubble wrap to use it as insulation and can reuse some you already have as I did. The bubble wrap needs to be seal all the way around the edges of the window and door as drafts and cold air will be able to pass through even the smallest gaps. If you need to join pieces of bubble wrap these will also need to be taped along the edges completely so that there are no gaps there.

Bubble wrap can be bought in rolls that would be ideal for this cheap insulation project, as it can then be cut to the required size easily and any extra stored neatly. If needed the bubble wrap insulation can be removed and re-rolled and saved meaning that only new tape will be needed next winter. These factors make this method and very cheap and effective way to insulate doors and windows. Even more so if you are able to reuse bubble wrap you already have. But even if you need to buy some now, it can be used in future and the costs overall are likely to be less than the money that you save on heating costs.

Save money on heating

All edges and joins should be covered completely with tape to stop any cold air coming through the bubble wrap.


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