Charred tomatoes with cold yoghurt (Ottolenghi)

This post has been updated as of September 2021 For the perfect end of summer meal, we recently made this charred tomato dish from Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Simple*. We made flatbreads from my book and some hummus to have with the tomato dish & …

This post has been updated as of September 2021 For the perfect end of summer meal, we recently made this charred tomato dish from Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Simple*. We made flatbreads from my book and some hummus to have with the tomato dish & some grilled vegetables too. If you’re familiar with Ottolenghi’s recipes, you know …

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Vegan Flapjacks

These chewy, oaty snack bars are an English classic! With a buttery, caramel like flavour from the golden syrup they’re also incredibly versatile as you can use whatever mix-ins you desire. Here we’ve gone for a fruit, nut & seed flapjack but I’m also partial to a chocolate chip flapjack for a more dessert-y vibe. What are flapjacks? If you’re not from England, you might not have eaten a flapjack before. These are oat-based baked squares, usually made with melted butter, sugar and golden syrup. They ‘re delicious and simple like that but you can also add in so many other ingredients like nuts, seeds, dried fruit or chocolate chips. I think they’re pretty similar to a granola bar but I’d say the main difference is that flapjacks have the key ingredient of golden syrup, which gives them their characteristic flavour & chew. The name flapjack seems to have originated from the word ‘flap’ referring to a griddle cake/pancake because of the flipping motion used in cooking them. The ‘jack’ part is though to just be something that was added on to many English words (e.g. jackpot), or could refer to something small. (Reference). American flapjacks are pancakes, not oaty […]

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These chewy, oaty snack bars are an English classic! With a buttery, caramel like flavour from the golden syrup they’re also incredibly versatile as you can use whatever mix-ins you desire. Here we’ve gone for a fruit, nut & seed flapjack but I’m also partial to a chocolate chip flapjack for a more dessert-y vibe.

What are flapjacks?

If you’re not from England, you might not have eaten a flapjack before. These are oat-based baked squares, usually made with melted butter, sugar and golden syrup. They ‘re delicious and simple like that but you can also add in so many other ingredients like nuts, seeds, dried fruit or chocolate chips. I think they’re pretty similar to a granola bar but I’d say the main difference is that flapjacks have the key ingredient of golden syrup, which gives them their characteristic flavour & chew.

The name flapjack seems to have originated from the word ‘flap’ referring to a griddle cake/pancake because of the flipping motion used in cooking them. The ‘jack’ part is though to just be something that was added on to many English words (e.g. jackpot), or could refer to something small. (Reference).

American flapjacks are pancakes, not oaty squares. Their name comes from the same root but after many years, ended up referring to a different food.

How long do flapjacks keep?

Flapjacks keep extremely well at room temperature – in an airtight container they should last for up to 2 weeks. There’s not really any need to keep them in the fridge, unless you prefer to eat them cold!

If you want to keep them for longer you can freeze them post-bake. Just pop them into a resealable sandwich bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Just let them defrost at room temp before eating.

Common flapjack issues

  1. Why did my flapjacks fall apart: You might also find that some recipes result in a crumbly flapjack which doesn’t hold together properly.
    • First of all: flapjacks will still be soft and crumbly when they’re HOT – so the problem could be that you haven’t let them cool!!
    • Another issue may be with the recipe if it doesn’t contain sufficient amounts of syrup or sugar which are the binders for flapjacks.
    • Another issue may be over or underbaking. If you overbake them, they’ll dry out and won’t have sufficient moisture to stay soft & gooey – if you notice that the texture of the baked flapjack seems dry, this is probably your issue. If you underbake them, the sugar/syrup won’t thicken enough in the oven to hold the mixture together – if you notice that the baked flapjacks seem gloopy and sticky (instead of firm and chewy), this is probably the issue (you can pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to see if it helps).
  2. Why are my flapjacks too soft? Again this can be an issue with the recipe or with the bake time. If you underbake the flapjacks, the sugar & syrup won’t have cooked for long enough to create the thick ‘caramel’ required to hold the oats together.
  3. Why are my flapjacks stuck to the greaseproof paper?
    • Sometimes I find that different brands of baking paper stick more/less to baked goods so if you think this is your problem, try another brand. (For people in the UK: I generally find Sainsbury’s baking paper is a good all-rounder).
    • Sometimes the flapjack mixture will stick because of the golden syrup in the mixture seeping under the paper so an easy way to remove it is to warm the flapjacks up again – whilst they’re hot the sugar will be pliable so you should be able to peel away the paper much more easily. You can also grease the tin with vegan butter and dust with flour instead of using baking paper although I think this is more risky than using baking paper as there’s more potential for them to get stuck in the tin.

How to tell when flapjacks are done:

As always, baking times are only a suggestion due to differences in ovens/ingredients/weather/baking tins etc so the best way to tell if flapjacks are cooked are by visual cues. They edges of the flapjacks should be golden brown and the mixture should be bubbling. You may notice that they’re super soft straight from the oven, even when they’ve had enough time in the oven – this is because the sugar & syrup are still hot. Once the flapjacks cool down properly they’ll set and firm up. This is why it’s also a good idea to let the flapjacks cool before slicing so you can get nice clean cuts.

Ingredients for vegan flapjacks

Oats – there are 2 main types of oat for baking with, jumbo oats (a.k.a. old fashioned oats) which are chunkier flakes, and rolled oats (a.k.a. porridge oats) which are finer, smaller flakes. You can use either type or a combo here! Using jumbo oats will give you a chewier texture whereas the rolled oats create a more cohesive mix, leading to a softer more cookie-like texture. I sometimes like to do a combo of the 2, to get the best of both worlds.

Vegan block butter – I simply swapped the unsalted butter from my Aunt’s flapjack recipe for a vegan block butter. I’ve tested Naturli & Stork in this recipe and they both work well. Just avoid tub margarines as they can make the finished flapjack have a greasier texture.

Sugar – You might see different types of sugar used in all different recipes. This recipe is very forgiving so you can use a mixture of different sugars (or just one type) and it’ll still work great. I like to use a mixture of granulated sugar and light brown sugar but you can use caster sugar, dark brown sugar or even coconut sugar.

Golden syrup – I think this is essential for the specific flavour that flapjacks have. As it’s such a thick syrup it also helps to bind the oats together properly and gives the bars a chewy texture. If you have to make them without golden syrup, you’ll need to use a syrup which is quite thick instead (so maple syrup as a direct sub won’t work here) – something like brown rice syrup or corn syrup will work but won’t give the same flavour. If you consume runny honey (which technically isn’t vegan) you can use it here too – the flavour of the honey will come through in the final bake.

Flour – I use plain white flour for my flapjacks the majority of the time. These also work with wholemeal pastry flour or even rye flour. Because of the inclusion of flour, flapjacks aren’t usually gluten-free, however you can use a gluten-free flour blend (e.g. Doves farm) in this recipe. Just make sure your oats are GF too!

Dried fruit, Nuts, Seeds or Chocolate Chips – Add whichever mix-ins you fancy here. I like to stir most of them into the flapjack mixture and then reserve some to sprinkle on top. The exception here is chocolate chips which I prefer to *not* mix in and I *only* sprinkle on top – this is because if you try to stir them into the hot flapjack mixture, they’ll start to melt.

How to make vegan flapjacks

The process is very simple, it’s basically a melt & mix job:

  1. Melt together the vegan butter, golden syrup & sugars in a pot then stir in the oats and flour.
  2. Fold in most of your mix-ins and press the mixture into a 20cm (8-inch) square tin lined with a sling of baking paper.
  3. Press any remaining mix-ins on top and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden around the edges and bubbling.
  4. Allow to cool before slicing into squares.

Other vegan bakes:

Vegan Flapjacks

Vegan Flapjacks

Yield: 16 squares
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Easy, chewy vegan flapjacks made with oats, margarine, golden syrup and light brown sugar. You can add any mix-ins you want such as chocolate chips or dried fruits & nuts. Perfect as a snack or mid-morning treat.

Ingredients

  • 168g (3/4 cup) vegan block butter (I like Stork or Naturli)
  • 168g (3/4 cup) sugar (*see notes)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 85g (2/3 cup) plain white flour (GF flour blends will work)
  • 225g (2 3/4 cups) oats (*see notes)
  • up to 200g (~1 cup) mix-ins of your choice: dried fruits, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan (350F fan) or 200C non-fan (400F non-fan). Line a 20cm (8-inch) square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Place the vegan butter, sugar and golden syrup in a medium pot. Place on a medium heat on the stove and leave until the butter has melted, mixing every now and then.
  3. Remove from the heat and add in the flour and oats. Stir until there are no floury patches remaining and all the oats are well-coated.
  4. Add any 'mix ins' you want now (except chocolate chips as those will just melt), reserving a handful for the top for decoration, and stir together.
  5. Tip the contents of the pot into the lined tin and press down to form an even layer. You can sprinkle your reserved handful of additional 'mix-ins' or, if you're using chocolate chips, sprinkle them on now. Press them into the flapjack mixture.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling with golden edges. They will seem very soft when they're hot so allow them to cool before slicing into 16 squares.
  7. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or wrap and freeze for up to 2 months.

Notes

*Type of Sugar: I like to use a mixture of 1/3 light brown sugar and 2/3 granulated sugar. You can also use dark brown sugar, coconut sugar, caster sugar. You can use one type or a mixture!

*Type of Oats: You can use either old fashioned (aka jumbo) oats here or porridge oats/rolled oats. The kind you use will alter the texture slightly - jumbo oats are thicker so will give you a chewier flapjack with more of a caramel-like texture. Rolled oats are finer so mix into the sugar more completely & will give you a more cohesive, softer texture. You can use one type or a mixture of the two!

Golden syrup: I think golden syrup is key to the flavour and chewy texture of the best flapjacks. However, I know it can be hard to come by in which case substituting honey will work fine (depending on whether you consume it or not, as a vegan). You can also use corn syrup or brown rice syrup, they just won't have the same flavour.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can see your beautiful creation & reshare in my stories!

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Vegan Chorizo & Potato Tacos

Mexican chorizo, seasoned with spices like cumin, dried chillies and clove, is very different to what we in the UK know as chorizo (i.e. Spanish chorizo) which is predominantly flavoured with smoked paprika.  These tacos are inspired by the Mexican dish of chorizo & potato tacos – I’ve used Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages, crumbled up and pan fried until a bit crispy. This is then seasoned with a blend of spices to bring that Mexican chorizo flavour, whilst still being veggie.  The combo of the spicy, meaty chorizo with the crispy potatoes is an excellent match and is perfect wrapped up in a warmed tortilla with some lime and coriander. 

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two vegan chorizo potato tacos on a chopping board with corn tortillas, cilantro and limes

Mexican chorizo, seasoned with spices like cumin, dried chillies and clove, is very different to what we in the UK know as chorizo (i.e. Spanish chorizo) which is predominantly flavoured with smoked paprika. 

These tacos are inspired by the Mexican dish of chorizo & potato tacos – I’ve used Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages, crumbled up and pan fried until a bit crispy. This is then seasoned with a blend of spices to bring that Mexican chorizo flavour, whilst still being veggie. 

a pan of vegan chorizo potato mixture on a board with a taco, cilantro and lime

The combo of the spicy, meaty chorizo with the crispy potatoes is an excellent match and is perfect wrapped up in a warmed tortilla with some lime and coriander. 

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Chorizo and Potato Tacos

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Chorizo and Potato Tacos

Yield: serves 3-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A spiced vegetarian sausage and crispy potato taco

Ingredients

Chorizo Spice blend:

  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 dried ancho chili (see notes for substitutes)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

For the tacos:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages, defrosted
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp chorizo spice blend
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into ~3cm chunks
  • 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 6-8 small tortillas, warmed
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh coriander, finely chopped

Instructions

Make the spice blend first:

  1. Toast the cumin, coriander, cloves, peppercorns and chilli in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until fragrant. Blitz with the bay leaves until powdery (or grind with a pestle & mortar) and then mix with the remaining spices. Set aside.

Start on the taco filling:

  1. Place the diced potato into a medium pot and cover with water. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Cook for around 6-8 minutes until tender but not too soft. Drain and let them sit in the sieve/colander for a few minutes to allow the potato cubes to dry out a bit. 
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, crumble in the defrosted Linda McCartney’s sausages and let cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and 1 tbsp of spice blend and stir through for 2 minutes. Transfer this sausage mixture to a bowl and wipe out the pan. 
  3. Return the pan to a medium heat and add the remaining oil. Add the cooked potato cubes and cook, stirring every now and then, until they become crisp all over. At this point, add the diced onion and stir through. Cook until the onion starts to become translucent (around 5 minutes) then add in the cooked sausage mixture. Stir together.
  4. Serve the sausage/potato mixture in warmed tortillas with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of coriander. 

Notes

  • *Ancho chili substitute: 2 tsp paprika + 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Make it Gluten-Free: serve with corn tortillas (ensure they're GF)

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Crispy Rice Salad (Vegan)

This post was sponsored by Tropical Sun – thanks for supporting this blog! The zingy flavours in this salad make it perfect as a light side dish (or lunch) with some fresh Thai flavours. This recipe is inspired by a mixture between a dish called Nam Khao (Lao crispy rice salad) and a crispy rice salad served at the restaurant Sqirl. The recipe uses day-old rice as it is drier than the fresh stuff and thus fries up very well! When trying to make this with freshly cooked rice, I encountered some issues with spluttering oil due to the remaining water on the surface. I did find that drying out the rice in the oven for 15 minutes helped a lot with this so if you’re in a rush, that is always an option. I used the Tropical Sun USA easy cook rice here as I liked that the grains are slightly chubby. This produces a nice crispy, puffy texture once fried – ideal for this salad. The rest of the salad is quite simple, the remaining rice is fried with some ginger, spring onion and cabbage. Then a simple dressing based on lime juice is poured over everything and […]

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an overhead view of a bowl of crispy rice salad with lime wedges and thinly sliced red onion

This post was sponsored by Tropical Sun – thanks for supporting this blog!

The zingy flavours in this salad make it perfect as a light side dish (or lunch) with some fresh Thai flavours. This recipe is inspired by a mixture between a dish called Nam Khao (Lao crispy rice salad) and a crispy rice salad served at the restaurant Sqirl.

The recipe uses day-old rice as it is drier than the fresh stuff and thus fries up very well! When trying to make this with freshly cooked rice, I encountered some issues with spluttering oil due to the remaining water on the surface. I did find that drying out the rice in the oven for 15 minutes helped a lot with this so if you’re in a rush, that is always an option. I used the Tropical Sun USA easy cook rice here as I liked that the grains are slightly chubby. This produces a nice crispy, puffy texture once fried – ideal for this salad.

a bowl of vegan crispy rice salad with red onion, tropical sun rice and lime wedges

The rest of the salad is quite simple, the remaining rice is fried with some ginger, spring onion and cabbage. Then a simple dressing based on lime juice is poured over everything and tossed together. I add thinly sliced red onion on top (you can leave this out if you’re averse to raw onion) as well as a lot of fresh coriander & mint for that light, bright flavour. This one is best assembled when you want to eat it but you can prep everything ahead (the crispy rice will keep in an airtight container overnight at room temp).

Crispy Rice Salad (Vegan)

Crispy Rice Salad (Vegan)

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 200g (1 cup) Tropical Sun USA easy cook rice
  • Tropical sun vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 head cabbage (sweetheart, white or red)
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegan 'fish' sauce (or light sauce)(Can also use standard fish sauce, if not vegan/veggie)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Tropical Sun agave syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Garnish:

  • Large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, drain to make sure there’s no water left. Spread the rice out on a baking tray and allow to cool completely at room temperature. Leave overnight (or for at least 1 hour) in the fridge to dry out.
  2. The next day, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to cover the base of it generously. Heat over a medium-high heat. Test the temperature by dropping a grain of rice into the oil, if it starts to bubble it is ready.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low then take a handful of rice and add it to the oil. Stand back as the oil will bubble up and may spit. Once the rice has reached a golden colour, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with some paper kitchen towel. Repeat this two more times so you have about 3 handfuls of crispy rice.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and decant most of the oil into a heatproof container, leaving some oil in the pan.
  5. Return the pan to the heat. Add the ginger and cook over a medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add the cabbage and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until softened slightly. Add the remaining cooled rice, the spring onions and grated carrot and stir together in the pan on the heat.
  6. In a jug, mix all of the dressing ingredients together. Pour over the rice and vegetables in the pan and stir to coat.
  7. Tip the contents of the pan out onto a serving dish. Top with the crispy rice, coriander, mint and red onion. Eat warm .

Notes

This recipe requires cooked and cooled rice. It's important that the rice is cooled as quickly as possible once cooked to reduce the possibility of getting food poisoning. This is why I recommend spread it out on a tray to increase the surface area so the rice can cool quickly.

If you’re finding that the oil is spitting excessively when frying, the rice is still too moist. You need to dry it out a bit more before frying. To do this, transfer the tray of rice to an oven heated to 100 C and let it toast for 10-15 minutes in there, stirring occasionally, until it feels dry.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

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Vegan Marshmallows

Making marshmallows can seem like a little bit of magic, watching everything whip up into a fluffy, wobbly foam and letting it set into perfect little clouds. I started what turned out to be a very challenging adventure of making vegan marshmallows a few weeks ago and finally, after about 20 trials, came up with something I was happy with! Experiments with agar First I started with the standard vegan sub for gelatine, agar agar, which is made from seaweed. I found that when using this, my marshmallows just weren’t setting properly and would collapse as soon as pressure was applied to them. Increasing the amount of agar just lead to unpleasantly gummy/dense marshmallows that wouldn’t toast properly. So back to the drawing board I went! I had posted about my marshmallows on instagram and talked to Ellie from Kinda Co about it. She uses carageenan to make melty vegan cheese and recommended I try that instead of the agar (which also wasn’t melting satisfyingly in a toasted marshmallow). Moving on to vege-gel.. I had spied a ‘vegetarian’ gelatine replacement in the supermarket called ‘vege-gel’ from Dr Oetker and had picked some up to see if it would work. My […]

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a tray of vegan marshmallows with some toasted

Making marshmallows can seem like a little bit of magic, watching everything whip up into a fluffy, wobbly foam and letting it set into perfect little clouds. I started what turned out to be a very challenging adventure of making vegan marshmallows a few weeks ago and finally, after about 20 trials, came up with something I was happy with!

some cut vegan marshmallows on a worktop

Experiments with agar

First I started with the standard vegan sub for gelatine, agar agar, which is made from seaweed. I found that when using this, my marshmallows just weren’t setting properly and would collapse as soon as pressure was applied to them. Increasing the amount of agar just lead to unpleasantly gummy/dense marshmallows that wouldn’t toast properly. So back to the drawing board I went!

I had posted about my marshmallows on instagram and talked to Ellie from Kinda Co about it. She uses carageenan to make melty vegan cheese and recommended I try that instead of the agar (which also wasn’t melting satisfyingly in a toasted marshmallow).

two mugs of hot chocolate with vegan marshmallows

Moving on to vege-gel..

I had spied a ‘vegetarian’ gelatine replacement in the supermarket called ‘vege-gel’ from Dr Oetker and had picked some up to see if it would work. My initial experiments with it had been using a teaspoon or so along with the agar and when that hadn’t worked, I gave up on using the it. However after my convo with Ellie, I read the packet again and realised that vege-gel contains carageenan and locust bean gum. I also talked to a food scientist on instagram about it and she told me how these two ingredients work synergistically together, meaning they form a stronger gel together than they would apart.

So now that I was back on the carageenan track, I tried using JUST the vege-gel (with xanthan gum to stabilise the aquafaba foam). I used quite a lot of the vege-gel stuff in the end, two packets, which is 13g of the stuff!! But it is cut with dextrose to standardise the batches they make as I read that the strength of carageenan/LBG can vary batch to batch. At least because it’s a standardised ingredient it should work exactly the same for everyone who uses it.

I found these vegan marshmallows have a nicely fluffy texture, they toast properly with a blowtorch and kind of melt; if you leave them in a hot choc for a few minutes they soften up but there’s not a super duper melty effect, I think from the LBG. I found that after toasting they’ll be a bit melty under the surface but not all the way through SO if you want them more melty, I think cutting the marshmallows a bit smaller (and maybe putting them under an oven grill?) should help.

some cut vegan marshmallows on a worktop and on a baking sheet

If you can’t get vege-gel

I knew loads of people who may read this won’t live in the UK/Europe so can’t get vege-gel. So I bought some plain carageenan and LBG, played around with the amounts, and ended up with a vegan marshmallow that was just as good. A word of warning though – if you ARE using pure carageenan/LBG instead of the vege-gel I think there is a variance in strength between brands. Therefore I have linked in the recipe notes to the specific ones I used for testing the recipe so you can get the same ones. However if you can’t get those brands, try it out with ones you can get and see how it goes. If they’re too soft, increase the amounts a tiny bit and try again. If they’re too firm, decrease it!

Make sure your measuring spoons are accurate

One last thing – I used weights for the whole recipe when I was testing as I wanted to be as accurate as possible. I used micro scales to measure my xanthan gum, carageenan and LBG but I have given teaspoon measurements as I know hardly anyone will have these scales. You must have accurate measuring spoons if you’re using volumes though; I recommend these ones from OXO which I tested on the micro scales with water to see if the volume was accurate. I had also tested some crappy metal ones I own and they were WAY off which is why I’m warning you about it now.

Vegan Marshmallows

Vegan Marshmallows

Yield: 12-16 large square marshmallows

Ingredients

For dusting:

  • icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • starch for dusting (I prefer potato starch, superfine white rice flour or glutinous rice flour as they work the best. Cornstarch also works but not as well).

Instructions

Read through all instructions and gather your ingredients + equipment before starting this recipe.

  1. Grease an 8 or 9-inch (20 or 23cm) square cake tin with a bit of vegetable oil. Line with baking paper and then brush the baking paper with a thin layer of vegetable oil too. Set aside.
  2. Place the aquafaba into the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted. Sprinkle the xanthan gum over the surface of the aquafaba and then immediately start whisking the mixture on a high speed (if you let it sit around before whisking the xanthan may make clumps). Leave to beat until very thick and pale (similar to egg whites beaten to a stiff peak consistency). Once it reaches this thickness you can beat in the vanilla extract and then turn the mixer off.
  3. Meanwhile combine the granulated sugar, golden syrup (or glucose/corn syrup) and 75g of water in a large pot. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, place the vege-gel. Gradually pour in the remaining 100g of water whilst stirring with a whisk to get a smooth, slightly goopy mixture. Set aside.
  5. Place the large pot of sugar mixture on the stove on a medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and then stop stirring but keep heating the mixture until it reaches 120°C (248°F). Take off the heat, pour in the goopy vege-gel mixture and quickly stir together (I like to use a small whisk for this step). Return to the heat and bring back up to 100°C (212°F).
  6. Immediately remove from the heat and, with the mixer running on a medium speed, pour the hot sugar mixture into the aquafaba foam in a steady stream. It should remain fluffy! Once you've poured it all in, increase the speed to maximum for a few seconds to make sure it's all mixed together. Stop the mixer and pour the marshmallow mixture straight into the prepared cake tin as fast as possible! This is very important as the mixture will start to set really quickly so if you don't get it into the pan it wont set flat. Try to spread it out into as even a layer as possible. You can also press a piece of oiled baking paper over the top of the marshmallows in the pan to help smooth it out if you need to.
  7. Leave to set for about 30-60 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, mix equal volumes of icing sugar and your preferred starch (I like potato starch here the best). You'll probably need around 5 to 8 tablespoons of each.
  9. Dust a work surface with the icing sugar/starch mixture using a small seive/sifter. Gently flip the set marshmallows out onto this and peel away the baking paper. Dust the top of the marshmallows with more icing sugar/starch mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut the marshmallows into squares (you may need to wipe the blade occasionally to keep things neat). Roll each marshmallow in more starch to coat them all over.
  10. Line a baking tray with baking paper and then dust with a bit of the icing sugar/starch mixture. Place the marshmallows on the tray and allow to sit out, uncovered, at room temperature for around 12-24 hours. You'll notice a lot of the starch will have disappeared at this point and they'll be a bit tacky. Re-roll the marshmallows in icing sugar/starch and then return to the tray to let them 'cure' for a further 12-24 hours. Now you should be able to pop them into an airtight container or, as I prefer, leave them out uncovered at room temp as they'll develop more of a sugary crust to them.
  11. They should keep for about 2 weeks like this. You may find that if they're in a sealed container that they will need to be re-coated with starch but will become less sticky over time (even though they may appear 'shiny' and so you may think they're sticky, they won't be when you poke them).

Notes

1. When testing this recipe I used Dr. Oetker vege-gel which is a pre-blended mixture of carageenan and locust bean gum (carob gum). You can get this in the baking aisle in UK supermarkets (I got mine from Sainsbury's) and it comes in packs containing 3 sachets. I know not everyone will be able to access this so I tested the recipe with straight up carageenan and guar gum. So if you can't get vege-gel, you can use:

1 g (1/2 level tsp) carageenan

1g (1/4 level tsp + 1/8 level tsp) locust bean gum

Just mix them together and use as you would vege-gel in the recipe as usual.

If using volumes instead of weights, make sure you have accurate measuring spoons (I like these ones by OXO which I've tested the accuracy of with my micro scales).

I used THIS carageenan and THIS locust bean gum brand. I haven't tested with other brands which may have varying strengths so I can't say whether it will work first time with different brands. You may have to adjust the levels yourself after testing the recipe with your own ingredients if you have different ones to me.

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Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Smoky Olives

Come Christmas or Thanksgiving, these crisp, golden Brussels sprouts will always be a favourite. My mum used to make sauteed brussels sprouts with chestnuts, juniper and bacon when I was growing up. The pairing of sprouts and chestnuts is so classic and for good reason – the sweet, creamy chestnuts match perfectly with the earthy sprouts. I pan roast my sprouts here so they get golden and caramelised but still have bite to them (NO soggy sprouts allowed!!!). Instead of bacon, I opted for a salty olive to offset the sweetness, cooked in a smoky, spicy chipotle paste for that almost meaty flavour. I do love a Nocellara olive for their sweet, buttery flavour but you can also use a more bitter, black olive (like I’ve done here with Moroccan dried olives) or even capers if that’s your jam.

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Close up of pan roasted Brussels Sprouts with chestnuts and smoky olives

Come Christmas or Thanksgiving, these crisp, golden Brussels sprouts will always be a favourite.

My mum used to make sauteed brussels sprouts with chestnuts, juniper and bacon when I was growing up. The pairing of sprouts and chestnuts is so classic and for good reason – the sweet, creamy chestnuts match perfectly with the earthy sprouts.

A bowl of roasted Brussels Sprouts with chestnuts and smoky olives on a table

I pan roast my sprouts here so they get golden and caramelised but still have bite to them (NO soggy sprouts allowed!!!). Instead of bacon, I opted for a salty olive to offset the sweetness, cooked in a smoky, spicy chipotle paste for that almost meaty flavour. I do love a Nocellara olive for their sweet, buttery flavour but you can also use a more bitter, black olive (like I’ve done here with Moroccan dried olives) or even capers if that’s your jam.

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Smoky Olives

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Smoky Olives

Yield: serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g (1lb 2 ounces) Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp refined olive oil
  • salt
  • 100g (heaped 1/2 cup) cooked, peeled chestnuts
  • 50g (heaped 1/4 cup) your favourite olives, pits removed, roughly torn (see notes)
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli paste (I use Gran Luchito) (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Trim the bases off the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Remove any gross outer leaves.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large frying pan (I like to use cast iron here) over a medium-low heat. Add the Brussels sprouts in a single layer, cut side down - you'll probably need to do cook them in two batches. Let them sit, undisturbed, until golden underneath (about 5 minutes). Flip and let cook until tender (roughly a further 5 minutes). If they still seem too crisp, cover with a lid and let cook on low for another 1-2 minutes to soften. Tip into the serving dish.
  3. Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining olive oil and cook the rest of the sprouts, as before adding them to the serving dish too.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add the cooked chestnuts. Cook on high for a minute or so just to warm through, then scatter over the sprouts in the serving dish.
  5. Return the pan to the heat. Add the torn olives and the chipotle paste and cook, stirring constantly, until coated and hot. Scatter over the sprouts in the serving dish and serve.

Notes

- For the olives, I really like Nocellara olives as they are juicy, sweet & buttery. If you prefer something deeper, try using 'dried' olives - they usually come in a jar without brine/oil and look slightly wrinkled. They have a more bitter flavour and chewier texture to them.

- An alternative to the chilli paste is 1 tsp smoked paprika.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

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Vegan Cauliflower Cheese Gratin

This creamy, vegan ‘cheese’ sauce is the perfect base for steamed cauliflower and broccoli to reinvent the British classic Cauliflower Cheese. A crispy topping of breadcrumbs makes it even better!! The sauce is based off of one by Kenji at Serious Eats – I changed it to suit my tastes and I’ve used it multiple times now to make vegan mac and cheese. I think the addition of a few key things really helps. Firstly, the potato helps give the sauce a thickness and stretchiness that you can’t get from a flour-based roux. It’s the blending action on the potato that really makes this work. Secondly, adding a bit blob of something salty & savoury – my favourite is marmite and I have to say, I haven’t even been the biggest fan of marmite in the past. This sauce has changed my mind. Lastly, a bit of acidity & sweetness from the mustard (I use the French’s yellow mustard as it’s quite neutral but sweet) and apple cider vinegar. All of that together helps to create that faux cheesy effect and without having to resort to using pre-made vegan cheese (most of which smells kinda weird). Anyway, I used this […]

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A tray of vegan cauliflower cheese gratin with a pair of hands holding it

This creamy, vegan ‘cheese’ sauce is the perfect base for steamed cauliflower and broccoli to reinvent the British classic Cauliflower Cheese. A crispy topping of breadcrumbs makes it even better!!

The sauce is based off of one by Kenji at Serious Eats – I changed it to suit my tastes and I’ve used it multiple times now to make vegan mac and cheese. I think the addition of a few key things really helps. Firstly, the potato helps give the sauce a thickness and stretchiness that you can’t get from a flour-based roux. It’s the blending action on the potato that really makes this work. Secondly, adding a bit blob of something salty & savoury – my favourite is marmite and I have to say, I haven’t even been the biggest fan of marmite in the past. This sauce has changed my mind. Lastly, a bit of acidity & sweetness from the mustard (I use the French’s yellow mustard as it’s quite neutral but sweet) and apple cider vinegar. All of that together helps to create that faux cheesy effect and without having to resort to using pre-made vegan cheese (most of which smells kinda weird).

Anyway, I used this for a vegan Christmas dinner I did last year for my friends and it went down super well with everyone! I added the breadcrumbs for a crispy top but if you’re coeliac, just leave them off or use GF ones instead!

Other vegan Thanksgiving recipes:

Vegan Cauliflower Cheese Gratin

Vegan Cauliflower Cheese Gratin

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A super creamy & tangy vegan 'cheddar cheese' sauce coating steamed cauliflower and tenderstem broccoli, with a crispy breadcrumb topping.

Ingredients

For the vegan 'cheese' sauce:

  • 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion, finely sliced
  • 120g (~3/4 cup) peeled, cubed potato
  • 130g (1 cup) cashews
  • 375g (1 1/2 cups) water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp marmite, soy sauce or miso (my fave is marmite)
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the gratin:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into medium florets
  • 150g (5.4 ounces) tenderstem broccoli (optional)
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

    For the 'cheese' sauce:

    1. Heat 4 tbsp of the olive oil in a large pot over a
      medium-low heat. Add the onion to the pot and saute until it starts to brown
      slightly – about 10 minutes. Add the potato, cashews, water, smoked paprika,
      garlic granules, nutritional yeast, soy sauce/miso, and mustard to the pot.
    2. Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer – leave for 15
      minutes so that the potatoes and cashews can soften.
    3. Pour the contents of the pot into the jug of a high-speed
      blender along with the apple cider vinegar and blitz until completely smooth,
      adding more water as needed to get the right sauce texture (I added about 250ml/1 cup to get it thin enough). Taste and season
      with salt and black pepper.


    For the gratin:

    1. Preheat your oven grill to a medium heat and place an oven rack in the top third of the oven.
    2. Pour a few cm (1-2 inch) depth of water into a large pot and set over a high heat on the stove. Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower and broccoli to the pot. Cover with a lid, turn down the heat to low, and let the veg steam for 4 minutes until tender but still with firmness to it.
    3. Drain the veg and add to a roasting dish. Pour over the 'cheese' sauce and stir to coat. Mix the breadcrumbs and oil in a small bowl until coated then scatter this over the vegetables.
    4. Place under the grill in the oven and watch carefully. You want the breadcrumbs to toast and the sauce to brown slightly. This should take around 5 minutes but will depend on your grill.
    5. Once finished, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.





Notes

To make ahead:

  1. Prep the sauce and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  2. Prep the veg and, once steamed, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  3. When ready to assemble: Gently warm the sauce with an added splash of water, in a small pot on the stove, stirring often until hot. Toss with the cold vegetables in a roasting dish and continue with the recipe as usual.


To make gluten free:

Use gluten free breadcrumbs for the topping

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

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Pistachio Ice Cream

This post has been updated as of July 2021 As pistachio gelato is my favourite to buy when in an ice cream shop, I knew I’d love a homemade version too. There’s something magical about making ice cream at home, the process of making a custard and watching it transform into a creamy, stretchy emulsion as it’s frozen and stirred. The flavour of real pistachio ice cream Have you ever had a faux pistachio ice cream before? The stuff that is bright green and strongly flavoured with extracts? Ok so THAT stuff is definitely not the real deal. It’s actually usually flavoured with something similar to almond extract and coloured with green food colouring. Still tasty but deffo not what we’re after here. Real pistachio ice cream/gelato will be flavoured/coloured purely with pistachio paste. It has a rich, nutty, toasty flavour that is divine. It has more of a dark olive-green colour (thanks to the carotenoids & chlorophyll in the nuts) so the ice cream comes out as a more pastel-y green. It is a lot more expensive than just using almond flavouring so you can understand why faux pistachio ice cream is so common. Pistachio paste Now, you *can* […]

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two ice cream cones with pistachio ice cream

This post has been updated as of July 2021

As pistachio gelato is my favourite to buy when in an ice cream shop, I knew I’d love a homemade version too. There’s something magical about making ice cream at home, the process of making a custard and watching it transform into a creamy, stretchy emulsion as it’s frozen and stirred.

a tub of pistachio ice cream with a spoon

The flavour of real pistachio ice cream

Have you ever had a faux pistachio ice cream before? The stuff that is bright green and strongly flavoured with extracts? Ok so THAT stuff is definitely not the real deal. It’s actually usually flavoured with something similar to almond extract and coloured with green food colouring. Still tasty but deffo not what we’re after here.

Real pistachio ice cream/gelato will be flavoured/coloured purely with pistachio paste. It has a rich, nutty, toasty flavour that is divine. It has more of a dark olive-green colour (thanks to the carotenoids & chlorophyll in the nuts) so the ice cream comes out as a more pastel-y green. It is a lot more expensive than just using almond flavouring so you can understand why faux pistachio ice cream is so common.

Pistachio paste

Now, you *can* make your own pistachio butter at home by blending up raw pistachios until they become a paste in a food processor. A better thing to do is to buy the paste ready made – it’ll be MUCH smoother and have a better flavour & colour in my experience. It’s also very easy to get online and isn’t any more expensive than buying shelled pistachios anyway. So go on, treat yoself to some pistachio paste! I bought a 250g tub and used it bit by bit, storing it in the freezer between uses to prevent it going rancid.

Ageing your ice cream base

I learnt a bit about the process of making ice cream for my Food science degree. An interesting takeaway was how ageing your ice cream base (i.e. chilling it for at least 4 hours) actually improves the texture of your ice cream a lot by allowing the globules of emulsified fat to become more stable. This helps the ice cream hold in air and retard the growth of ice crystals when being churned. Cool huh!?

melted ice cream and some ice cream cones on a tray
a tray with 2 scoops of pistachio ice cream and 2 ice cream cones

This ice cream base is a super simple, egg-free one. I usually prefer eggless ice creams as they are easier to make and have a much cleaner flavour that allows the flavours you’re adding to SHINE! As pistachio can be quite a gentle flavour, I wanted as little distraction from it a possible, hence the egg-free base. I also added xanthan gum which stabilises the ice cream and improves mouth feel (more of that food science degree coming in handy). I know most people won’t have it around in their kitchens though so don’t worry about leaving it out.

More Ice Cream Recipes:

two ice cream cones with pistachio ice cream

Pistachio Ice Cream

Yield: serves 8

This simple egg-free ice cream base means the flavour of the pistachio isn't masked at all. It is also very easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 110g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1 tbsp corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 625ml (2 1/2 cups) whole/semi-skim milk (or non-dairy milk)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup or corn syrup
  • 250ml (1 cup) double cream (heavy cream) or coconut milk
  • 100g (~1/2 cup) pistachio paste

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar, xanthan gum (if using), cornstarch and salt in a medium pot. Whisk to combine well. Pour in a bit of the milk and stir together to combine until smooth. Pour in the remaining milk and the golden syrup and whisk together.
  2. Place the pot over a medium-low flame on the stove and heat, stirring often with a whisk, until the mixture is hot and has thickened slightly. Stir in the pistachio paste until smooth and remove from the heat. Stir in the double cream.
  3. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Either churn it now (see next step) or chill the mixture overnight ('ageing' the ice cream base overnight like this improves the texture of the ice cream).
  4. When ready to churn, pour the ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. You want to stop it churning once it reaches the texture of soft-serve ice cream. Scoop all the churned ice cream into a plastic tub, seal with a lid and chill for at least 2 hours before scooping and serving.

Notes

- To make vegan: use full-fat coconut milk in place of the double cream. Also use a non-dairy milk (I like Oatly's barista milk for this as it's creamier).

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

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Lentil Ragu (vegan)

Ahh spaghetti bolognese, a definite comfort food in many countries but particularly a British staple (although the version most Brits make is nothing like a classic ragu all bolognese – especially as we usually serve it with spaghetti which would be blasphemy in Italy). When writing my second book I included a recipe for a fennel & lentil ragu with caramelised onions. That is what this ragu is based on with some tweaks like swapping the fennel for celery to make it more of an approachable, everyday recipe. That said, if you do like fennel and can get it, it’s a great addition to this sauce for even more flavour. Through trial and error of cooking vegetarian replacements for ‘meaty’ dishes, I’ve managed to get that savoury flavour into the sauce quite easily. I use miso, dried mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce (or mushroom ketchup) for their richness. They really do help bring this dish from a tomatoey lentil sauce up a notch to something with much more depth. I hope you give this one a go, it’s a favourite of mine as it’s so versatile. I’ve used it in veggie lasagne, stuffed cannelloni, veggie shepherd’s pie, as a filling for […]

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Ahh spaghetti bolognese, a definite comfort food in many countries but particularly a British staple (although the version most Brits make is nothing like a classic ragu all bolognese – especially as we usually serve it with spaghetti which would be blasphemy in Italy).

When writing my second book I included a recipe for a fennel & lentil ragu with caramelised onions. That is what this ragu is based on with some tweaks like swapping the fennel for celery to make it more of an approachable, everyday recipe. That said, if you do like fennel and can get it, it’s a great addition to this sauce for even more flavour.

Through trial and error of cooking vegetarian replacements for ‘meaty’ dishes, I’ve managed to get that savoury flavour into the sauce quite easily. I use miso, dried mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce (or mushroom ketchup) for their richness. They really do help bring this dish from a tomatoey lentil sauce up a notch to something with much more depth.

I hope you give this one a go, it’s a favourite of mine as it’s so versatile. I’ve used it in veggie lasagne, stuffed cannelloni, veggie shepherd’s pie, as a filling for homemade ravioli and even served over cheesy polenta. All delicious, comforting food for when you’re craving something super savoury and satisfying.

Lentil Ragu

Lentil Ragu

Yield: serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons refined olive oil or vegetable oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • a (400g / 14 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 800ml (3 1/4 cups) vegetable stock (made with 1 low-salt stock cube)
  • 125ml red wine (or more veg stock)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcester sauce or mushroom ketchup (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon miso paste (I prefer to use dark miso here but light/medium is fine too)
  • 50g walnuts
  • 90g puy lentils or 'French' green lentils
  • 1 tablespoon dried shiitake/porcini mushrooms, blended into a powder (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs or dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and celery. Stir occasionally and cook until softened and slightly translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic to the pan and stir in for 30 seconds. Then add the ground coriander seed and fennel seed and stir again for 30 seconds to toast.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and swill out the can with a little water then pour that into the pan too. Add the vegetable stock, wine, Worcester sauce/mushroom ketchup and balsamic vinegar. Mix the miso with a few tablespoon of water in a small bowl or mug to loosen it, then pour that into the pan as well. Stir together.
  4. Chop the walnuts so they are the texture of minced meat (not to small, not to big). Add the chopped walnuts, the lentils, mushroom powder, bay leaves and dried herbs to the pan. Stir together then bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Once boiling turn down to simmer, cover with a lid and let it cook for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are softening but not mushy. Remove the lid and let it simmer for another 10-20 minutes so the liquid can reduce.
  6. Meawhile cook your pasta in a large pot according to the directions on the package. Reserve a mugful of pasta water then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add a few scoops of the lentil ragu, along with a splash of pasta water as needed to help the sauce coat the pasta.
  7. Divide the pasta between 4 bowls and top with the remaining ragu.
  8. Serve with grated parmesan or vegan parmesan on top.

Notes

- Worcester sauce note: regular Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian as it contains fish. So if you are vegan or veggie, use a vegetarian alternative. You can also use mushroom ketchup which most UK supermarkets sell - sometimes it's in the 'speciality ingredients' section, sometimes near the hot sauce or sometimes next to the Worcester sauce. Or you can get it online. If you can't get any of them, use 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce instead.

- Miso note: If you don't have miso you can use 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce or 1 tbsp marmite instead.

- Wine note: ensure you're using a vegan red wine, if needed

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