The Not So Good Life


Up until not long ago my go-to quick and easy food when I was away from home was any product made by Goodlife. This vegetarian company changed all of it’s products to vegan back in 2011, a huge step for the vegetarian industry I’m sure you’ll agree.

If you keep an eye on vegetarian freezer foods I’m sure you’ve noticed that Goodlife have had a makeover. The new boxes are colourful and look fun but hang on… is that cheese?


That’s right, Goodlife have taken a huge step backwards and reintroduced cheese products into their sausages. Their french bean and spinach sausages sound delicious until you find out that they’re full of wensleydale cheese, crème fraiche and eggs. Beetroot sausages are an original and exciting flavour but the addition of feta cheese and egg means they’re not to be enjoyed by vegans. Tomato and basil sausages? Bring it on! Hold the mozzarella and eggs though. Cauliflower cheese sausages? You get the point.

Don’t get me wrong, Goodlife still have two products that are suitable for vegans and one of them is also gluten free. The spicy veg beanburgers with chipotle chilli sound amazing and the picador parsnip and sweet carrot nut burgers with crunchy cashews even more so. Unfortunately I will not get to sample these burgers as I, along with many other vegans, have decided not to support a company that goes back on it’s vegan values so it can make more money from the vegetarian customers. I’m sure their new range will be very successful and the animal suffering involved will be forgotten behind the sound of ringing tills. If you are like me though, you will not want to be any part of this exploitation of animals for the benefit of the owners of this company with questionable morals.

An Apology and Some Christmas Cupcakes



I’m sorry I’ve been away since the end of Vegan MOFO! Last month I took part in another challenge called Nanowrimo where I wrote 48,199 words in the whole of November. Every minute I wasn’t sleeping, eating or working I was writing my novel! You can see my results in the graph below, I’m very proud of how I did.
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Now I’m back though and in a vegan Christmas mood! I’m here today to share some Mulled Wine cupcakes I made yesterday.


Some of you may remember the exciting time I had at the Northern Vegan Festival where I met the lovely Ms Cupcake and came home with a signed version of her book. She did a brilliant talk on how to make gluten free and vegan cakes taste amazing so I couldn’t wait to try out one of her recipes and use her tips. The main tip was that the cakes should be mixed as quickly as possible and put in the oven before the baking soda gets to work. She also said that it was better to measure ingredients in grams rather than cups.


She must have been right because these cakes did everything I’ve not been able to manage up until now! They rose, they had a gorgeous golden colour and my boyfriend said they were the best things I’d ever baked. I used the Vanilla Cupcake recipe but used Mulled Wine flavouring instead of Vanilla extract so they had a hint of orange and spice. I found the flavouring in Lakeland and the sprinkles were in ASDA and were labelled vegan.


I’ve found a new favourite baking book! Have you tried any of Ms Cupcake’s recipes?

Respect Goes Both Ways – A Come Dine With Me Rant


Last night I was catching up on one of my favourite programmes, Come Dine With Me. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Come Dine With Me is a reality show where 5 strangers take it in turn to host a dinner party and mark each other secretly. I’m used to seeing meat being prepared on this show as you are lucky if there is even one vegetarian in each episode. When there is a vegetarian the choices are usually very limited (Roasted Pepper Tart, Quorn or Risotto anyone?) but the host is usually happy to cater for their guest’s beliefs.

Last night the episode I watched had a vegetarian on it who was graced with the bog standard veggie fare. After she’d tucked into her red pepper starter though the host thought it would be amusing to plonk a pigs head on the table in front of her. Unsurprisingly the girl shot out of her seat and was reduced to tears. The other diners were shocked that the host had done it and when confronted he uttered the well-known phrase “she didn’t have respect for my beliefs”.

The point I want to make here is that vegetarians and vegans are not refusing to eat meat just to be awkward. We refuse to eat meat because we are disgusted that animals are tortured and killed. I know that many meat eaters have become desensitivied  to the sight of dead animals and meat but consider what that dead pigs head looks like to us. It’s the head of a corpse and we don’t think it’s a joke. Respect goes both ways. Just as I wouldn’t show you documentaries of the cruelty of factory farms while you eat your steak, don’t put a pigs head on the table as I’m trying to eat my peppers.

My Vegan MOFO 2014!


I don’t know about you but September flew by! Unfortunately I didn’t hit my target of posting 20 times but I did post more often than usual! I spent more time this year reading other blogs and getting involved in the community aspect of MOFO which I really enjoyed. Over the next week I’ll be sharing with you my favourite new blog discoveries and posts of last month. Today though I want to do a round up of my posts for Vegan MOFO 2014.


Make Ahead Monday (MOFO #1) – English Onion Soup

I started MOFO by veganising Jamie Oliver’s English Onion Soup. My version was topped with some gluten free garlic bread and a splash of vegan worcester sauce.

 554414bTop Tips Tuesday (MOFO #2) – Is your stock suitable?

One of the most important ingredients to have on hand when you’re converting recipes is a good vegan and gluten free stock cube. Here I talk about my favourite brand of stock Kallo.

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Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #3) – Should vegans eat eggs from rescued hens?

For Wildcard Wednesday I discussed an article in the first edition of Vegan Life Magazine about whether vegans should eat eggs from rescued hens.


Vegan MOFO #4 – Peanut Squash Stew

A vegan version of Delia’s West African Groundnut Stew was next on the cards. A gorgeous meal filled with butternut squash and peanut butter!


Fruity Friday (MOFO #5) – What to do when it all goes wrong…

A blueberry and peach pie was born from a disaster of a tart! This is how to salvage a dish gone wrong!


Stress Free Saturday (MOFO #6) – Peas, Leeks and Spinach

A beautiful side dish that just so happened to be already vegan in one of Jamie’s early cookbooks.


Sunday Seven (MOFO #7) – My favourite blogs this week!

My first MOFO round up included this beautiful broccoli soup from Stairway to Vegan as well as some halloween treats, cheesecake and a Harry Potter recipe!


Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #8) – Mushroom, Asparagus and Cheese Omelette

A free from delight here with a vegg omelette filled with mushrooms and asparagus and then topped with some violife cheese.


Throwback Thursday (MOFO #8) – “Fronch” Toast

Here is where I created my new favourite breakfast! I took the recipe out of Vegan With A Vengeance and tweaked it slightly to make it gluten and soy free.


Stress Free Saturday (MOFO #9) – Aubergine, Potato and Pepper Stew

Here I shared one of my favourite aubergine recipes from the Meat Free Monday book.


Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #10) – The Northern Vegan Festival

My visit to the Northern Vegan Festival in Blackpool included vegan sweets, macaroni cheese and meeting a vegan hero in the form of Ms Cupcake!

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Throwback Thursday (MOFO #11) – Cracked Potatoes with Melty Cheeze

Another Delia recipe veganised to create a gorgeous side dish. Roast potatoes covered in melty violife cheese!

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Fruity Friday (MOFO #12) – Tea Poached Pears in Chocolate Sauce

An adapted Veganomicon recipe – pears poached in earl grey tea with crumbled almonds and chocolate!


Sunday Seven (MOFO #13) – Second Roundup!

My second roundup included a gorgeous looking Banoffee Pie from Veg Hot Pot as well as cute vegan cartoons, green bean casserole, a crumble and a very naughty looking breakfast sandwich!


Tuesday Tips (MOFO #14) – Top Ten Essential Ingredients For Your Cupboard

The ten most important ingredients you must have if you want to convert recipes to vegan and gluten free masterpieces!


Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #15) – Goody Good Stuff Goes Vegan!

I finished MOFO with some excellent news from one of my favourite brands. Goody Good Stuff Sweets have gone vegan!

Thank you for 2 years!

Today is the 2 year anniversary of Vegan Beckles! Thank you for reading and commenting, it’s been amazing. To celebrate here are some posts that you guys seemed to love the most!

1) Vegan Life – A New Vegan Magazine in the UK!

2) Vegan Four Seasons Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

3) Bees and Honey – A Vegan Perspective

4) Pakistani Lentil Balls in Fragrant Stew

5) My Journey to Plant Based Milk


Here’s to more vegan years!



Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #15) – Goody Good Stuff goes Vegan!


For the last Wildcard Wednesday of MOFO 2014 I want to share some extremely exciting news! Recently Goody Good Stuff sent me some goodies to try. I was very excited to see their facelift and try their new smooth sweets which are now vegan!

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When I first became vegetarian I adored the Goody Good Stuff range which was all gelatine free and vegetarian friendly. However, once I became vegan an issue appeared! When originally developing the sweets the team had to choose between coating them in beeswax or in palm oil. Palm oil would have made the whole range vegan but Goody Good Stuff were not happy with the environmental implications. They therefore opted for a beeswax coating which meant that all of their smooth gummy sweets were not vegan unlike their fizzy counterparts!

After a long time in development Goody Good Stuff have found a way to make their gummies vegan! Using coconut oil to coat the sweets, they have managed to replicate the classic texture of the gummies you remember eating as a child!


I was lucky enough to receive gummy bears, cola bottles and a selection of their Christmas sweets to review so I have given myself a sugar high trying all these sweets just so I can tell you about them! The things I do for veganism….


The cola bottles are one of my absolute favourites from the range. These were already vegan but I was extremely happy to have an excuse to try them again. Remember the cola bottles from your childhood? These are exactly the same but don’t include any hidden nasties and are completely cruelty free!

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The gummy bears are tougher than I remember the childhood favourite being. These are very similar to wine gums and have lemon, apple, pineapple, orange and apple flavours. Saying that, they are absolutely gorgeous and very morish!

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Are you all ready for Christmas? Goody Good Stuff are ready with their huge tubs of Xmas Trees and Baubles. The baubles are vegan versions of their popular strawberry and cream gummy sweets. Unlike the gummy bears these are super soft and squidgy! The cream baubles remind me of milk bottles and are absolutely my favourite. The stars and christmas trees are wine gum textured and absolutely delicious. I’m hoping to receive another one of these at Christmas!

The gummy bears and cola bottles are available in 150g bags and in a multi pack of 8 mixed bags. They can be bought in Tesco, Waitrose, ASDA and from the Goody Good Stuff website.


Have you tried any of the new vegan range? Are you excited?

Tuesday Tips (MOFO #14) – Top Ten Essential Ingredients For Your Cupboard


My theme for this year’s Vegan MOFO is making ordinary recipes vegan and gluten free. For today’s  Tuesday tips I’m going to give you a list of ingredients that are a must have in your cupboards to convert your recipes!



Gluten Free Flour

A good gluten free flour blend is a must have. I always have a bag of my favourite Dove’s Farm plain flour in the cupboard for the obvious baking as well as making gravies, thickening sauces and making Vegg omelettes!


Stock Cubes

I’ve already done a post on stock cubes which you can find here. A good supply of a few different flavours of stock cube is essential for making soups, stews and sauces. Always bear in mind that general stock cubes tend to have gluten in!


Nutritional Yeast

I sprinkle these little cheesy flakes on anything from pasta to soup and you should too! It’s also useful in making cheese sauces. I use the one with added B12 as it is a vitamin that is more difficult to get on a vegan diet.


Non-Dairy Margarine

These are available all over the place now and don’t cost more than normal margarines! My favourite one is called Vitalite and is available in most supermarkets. Your favourite spread can be used in any recipe that asks for butter. It also makes gorgeous toast!


Unsweetened Plant Based Milk

Soya, almond, hazelnut, coconut or rice. The varieties of this are endless now! While normal almond milk tastes absolutely gorgeous in tea and hot chocolate, I recommend and unsweetened milk which can be used in any recipes that ask for milk. My favourites are unsweetened almond milk and Koko coconut milk.


The Vegg

There are recipes all over the internet using this vegan egg yolk replacer. My favourite way to use it is to make omelettes or just a runny yolk to go over my breakfast. It’s useful to have a tub of this in the fridge to adapt any recipes which use egg yolks. Note though that this is just the yolk and not the white of an egg!


Gram Flour/Besan

It’s a shame that I only discovered Gram Flour after I’d gone gluten free because it’s a gorgeous nutty alternative to normal flour. This can’t be used in place of plain flour because of the texture and flavour but it can be used to make a nice chickpea omelette!



I don’t know about you but I was devastated to discover that soy sauce contained gluten. Tamari is an excellent substitute though and is needed for stir fries and flavouring other dishes too!


Worcester Sauce

Gluten free and vegan Worcester sauces can be found in a few places now including ASDA’s free from section! Now you can add it to your cheesy beans on toast just like you used to! I also use this for adding a bit of flavour to soups, sauces and rice.


Vegan cheese

A must for any cheese based recipe! You can now get a large variety of cheeses including mozzarella substitutes, powdered parmesan, melty cheese and your normal blocks. My favourite is violife which tastes just like the real thing and actually melts!


If you are going vegan and gluten free then filling your cupboards with the above ingredients will see you on your right way! What’s your must have ingredient?