Hoppy Easter!

Morning folks, Happy Chocolate Day to you! Just a quick post on what we got for Easter, maybe to give you future inspiration, if any of you want to go for a dairy-free option in the future πŸ™‚

This is what we got each other: a Choices ‘milk’- chocolate caramel egg, and Lindt dark gold bunny:

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My dad posted us a couple of other things, which were a Celtic dark mint egg, and a Montezuma eco-egg πŸ™‚

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Birthday week continued!

LENGTHY POST WARNING!

A birthday at the start of the week = using the entire remainder of the week to continue celebrating πŸ˜€

On Tuesday evening, we invited our friend Genesis over to have some dinner and to try the nut roasts that our pals gave us on Monday. We decided to make it a Mediterranean-Greek-randomness-themed meal, so we had mixed roast veggies, olives, baby carrots, and a couple of hummuses. It all went together really nicely, and we had the rest of Jacob’s birthday cake for pudding πŸ™‚

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Yummy spread πŸ™‚

On Wednesday, I’d organised a day out at Airhop Bristol, which was sooo much fun (and also made us realise how unfit we are!). We travelled to Cribbs Causeway on the bus and ate lunch when we arrived. I fail to remember the name of the cafΓ©, but needless to say it was the first suitable place we could find. However, the falafel wraps we had were surprisingly delicious, and filled us up nicely (but not too much before two hours of bouncing!).

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Falafel wrap with salad and chips

After Airhop, it was early evening and we were exhausted and ready for something more substantial. I’d read on Facebook that Zizzi’s have a brand new vegan menu, and we were eager to try it, so we headed into Cabot Circus in search…

I’d been to Zizzi’s before, but never as a vegan, and so I can genuinely say that the vegan food was just as yummy as the “normal” stuff! We had olives and garlic bread to start, then customised our margherita pizzas with loads of extra toppings, then I had baked nectarines and sorbet for dessert. Phew!

Here’s a few pictures, with Jacob’s obligatory face-pulling:

Jacob said a very sweet thing to me at Zizzi’s which was that he’d never eaten such consistently delicious food, or such a wide variety, before we both went vegan. Just some of the foods he’d never tried before were kale, tofu (now a firm favourite), mangetout, and lentil curry. Yet again, the phrase “what do vegans eat?” seems to be redundant!

Yesterday, I was delighted to hear that Quorn are making their entire range vegan πŸ™‚ Even though Quorn is not my favourite range of meat substitutes, it is great that it will soon be an option for us again, as it is used in a lot of restaurants as their go-to veggie option.

On Thursday evening, I had booked a table at The Green Rocket Cafe for us and a few friends to have a proper birthday meal. Many of the group had never eaten at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant before, but everybody was keen to try the food and, for the most part, they enjoyed it πŸ™‚ Particularly the chocolate cake I had ordered everybody for pudding! πŸ˜€

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The table set up πŸ™‚ It was a lot messier when we’d finished!!

Finally, yesterday I watched a video on Facebook about how to make an easy Mexican-style ‘lasagne’ and decided to try making a vegan version after work. We invited Jacob’s cousin over, and the dish got his seal of approval too πŸ˜€ Here’s a recipe:

Serves 3-4

  • Chilli mixture (either made fresh or ready-bought)
  • plain nacho chips
  • 2-3 tortillas
  • Violife cheese
  • jalapeΓ±os
  • Salsa and vegan sour cream
  • Spring onions (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Put a layer of chilli mixture into a baking dish
  3. Follow with a layer of nacho chips and a layer of Violife
  4. Put the tortillas on top and press down gently
  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3
  6. Top with a few jalapeΓ±os and bake for 25 mins
  7. Serve with the onions, salsa and sour cream
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Mexican-style ‘lasagne’ πŸ™‚

What a fab birthday week! Roll on the next one πŸ˜€

Birthday bonanza!

Hi folks, sorry for my absence again recently! Been very busy with work, theatre rehearsals and house stuff… Anyhoo, yesterday was Jacob’s 24th, which I had a lot of fun planning and we both had a lovely day πŸ™‚

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Decorations!

Veganism is now totally instinctive to me, and I’m enjoying finding accidentally-vegan treats, and cooking meals from scratch more than I ever have before. I’m no longer even a little bit tempted by non-vegan food (with the exception of a rainbow cheesecake my housemate made the other day; I must find an alternative recipe!) and feel better for it.

In fact, the hardest part of being vegan is my job, because putting huge hunks of raw meat through the tills is always gross :/ Especially when it won’t scan properly, and you have to hold it for ages whilst trying to type in the barcode! Gragh!! However, I was delighted when one of my colleagues told me that she’s also gone vegan πŸ™‚ It’s always lovely when people tell you that they’re making the change as well (or at least don’t start an unprovoked debate with you about their differing views…!)

In terms of food yesterday, we had a lovely variety: I made garlic mushrooms on toast for lunch, and we went to Indian Temptation in the evening:

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Garlic mushrooms on toast
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I only remembered to take a picture of the starter πŸ˜€

I made Jacob’s birthday cake in advance on Saturday night, after rehearsals, using Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food cake mix (with my own egg substitute added) and vanilla frosting and Oreos on top. It was super-easy and turned out delicious πŸ™‚ (Lighting 24 candles without burning yourself is no mean feat btw!)

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Oreo cake!

Two of our friends popped over unexpectedly in the evening and brought some thoughtful vegan treats, including two nut roasts and some smoked tofu (Jacob’s favourite!), so we’ll have fun cooking some lovely meals with those soon. Right now, I have to go and meet him in town, as we’re going to do some food shopping, as another friend is joining us for dinner πŸ™‚ Ciao for now πŸ™‚

Chocolate mug cakes!

I’ve had cravings for chocolate today, and so after tea decided to try making a mug cake (I saw my housemate making one earlier and it inspired me) πŸ˜€ This is yet another thing I never made before going vegan!

I’m finding that the best way to find vegan recipes (unless you’re looking fr something specific from a vegan recipe book), is to look up any old recipe online and modify it slightly to meet your requirements e.g. substituting dairy milk for soya milk. Easy peasy!

So here’s the chocolate mug cake recipe:

Makes 1 cake

  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3tbsp self-raising flour
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar (or xylitol for a healthier option)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3tbsp milk (whichever you want to use)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Mix dry ingredients together very well, in a mug
  2. Add the liquids and mix well again
  3. Put in microwave for 30 secs, then stir
  4. Cook for another 2 mins
  5. Let it cool for a bit, otherwise you’ll burn the roof of your mouth, as I did ^.^ EAT AND ENJOY!!!

Earthlings

Yesterday, I finally sat down and watched Earthlings. Not because I felt like I needed to (because I am already aware and in the vegan mindset), but because it is such an important film, and one which continues to educate people today.

Part of me wishes I hadn’t, but only because it left me feeling upset and angry. I got teary about 8 mins in, just during the introduction, let alone what I was like when it started showing the footage…

I think what got to me the most was knowing that so many animals have known nothing but confusion, pain and fear, whereas people like me would show them nothing but care, love and respect. I know that a lot of the footage in Earthlings is from a few years ago and doesn’t represent every single slaughterhouse, chicken farm etc., but even the fact that this treatment still exists in many parts of the world makes me feel indescribably angry and helpless.

But we CAN help, by doing our bit: by living as cruelty-free as we can within our means and resources. Most of us simply do not need meat and animal products to survive in everyday life, and a lot of people consume a greedily huge amount of them too.

Watch films like these, and you will realise why vegans get a little tetchy when people say things like “but bacon” or “but fake leather shoes fall apart quicker”…

Mushroom and spinach risotto recipe

Yesterday was the first time I’d made risotto, and it was easier than I thought and turned out pretty well!

Makes 2 big/3 smaller portions

  • 700ml stock
  • Oil
  • 450g (or less) button mushrooms, halved
  • 2-3 Escallion shallots, chopped
  • 170g Arborio risotto rice
  • Few handfuls spinach
  • 1tbsp fresh chopped chives
  • 30g spread
  • salt n pepper
  1. Heat about 1tbsp oil in a large frying pan, then add the mushrooms until cooked. Remove and set aside
  2. Put a bit more oil in the pan and add the shallots for 1 min. Stir in the rice for 2 mins until pale gold
  3. Put on low heat and add the stock 100ml at a time and wait every time until absorbed (the whole process takes about 15 mins, until the rice is cooked)
  4. Stir in the spinach with a few mins to go and allow to wilt into the risotto
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the mushrooms, spread, chives and salt n pepper.

Caaaaake!!

I always seem to do my best cooking whilst hungover… Very strange, considering I cannot usually eat anything until mid-afternoon! Anyway, today I decided to make a chocolate Oreo cake. Because chocolate Oreo cake. I shared some of it tonight with Jacob and my friend Genesis, and they loved it πŸ™‚ Here’s the recipe I used, and a couple of piccies:

Makes a big cake, serves about 10, because very rich!

  • 230g self-raising flour
  • 350g sugar
  • 85g cocoa powder
  • equivalent of 2 eggs (use Orgran, for example)
  • 250ml soya milk
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml boiling water
  • Chocolate or butter-cream flavoured frosting, and Oreos to decorate
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Grease two cake tins (don’t use spring-form, as the mixture is quite liquid and may leak)
  3. Combine all ingredients, except the boiling water, in a large mixing bowl until very smooth
  4. Add the water, a little at a time, and combine again
  5. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 30 mins
  6. Allow to cool before turning out, then spread frosting between the two layers and on top. I combine crushed Oreos with the frosting πŸ˜€

TARDIS and FOOD

Yesterday, we had an awesome day, visiting the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff πŸ˜€ We travelled by direct train from Bath to Cardiff, then a quick bus ride to the site itself, where we were able to have an interactive walk-through, an explore of the museum, look round the shop, then a separate tour of the TARDIS set itself! Needless to say, we had a great time and I think Jacob was in Doctor Who heaven…

A few pics:

In terms of food, I packed a selection of snacks for us to take, which included this Sainsbury’s ‘Lebanese style falafel’ salad, which turned out to be the nicest ready-made salad I’ve ever had (even though it included coriander, which tastes like soap to me):

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We were starving after our day at the Experience, so we researched vegan-friendly eateries and discovered the Vegetarian Food Studio, which was a five minute walk from the station and had an extensive Indian and Oriental menu, many of which were marked vegan πŸ™‚

We had vegetable kebabs with chutney to start, then I had mushroom masala and Jacob had tofu marinated in spices with peppers, and we both had onion jeera rice and vegan yoghurt, as well as a selection of Indian sweets for dessert. All of this was delicious and arrived very quickly too πŸ™‚ We were very full and nearly fell asleep on the train home!

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Indian sweets

It was a great day out and another lovely adventure πŸ™‚