Monday, 30 September 2013


So here we are on the 30th and final day of VeganMofo 2013 and as I write this I am sipping a cup of tea whilst having dinner cooked for me, bliss.

Today I was on the lucky end of a RAK (random act of kindness), a friend at work had been visiting London at the weekend and called in at Inspiral. I've yet to visit as every time I'm in Camden I'm drawn in by the sights and smells of Camden Lock! Anyway he randomly handed me a pack of their 'Raw Cacao & Cinnamon Kale Chips' this morning which definitely perked me up.

Unfortunately I've got to say I wasn't bowled over once I actually opened the packet. There was too much kale taste to call them sweet and too much cinnamon cacao taste to call them savoury! So although they definitely beat your average banana/carrot sticks/other healthy snack, I can't see myself heading all the way to Camden to get them again any time soon!

I hope you've enjoyed my contributions to VeganMoFo and I haven't rambled too much. It's been so great hearing your thoughts in the comments and sharing my own on other blogs too, some I'm addicted to now! In the future I'm hoping to spend more time improving my photography and photo editing whilst trying out some of the many, many incredible ideas I've seen throughout the month from all over the world. Come back and visit!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Eating out

A busy weekend in London and Brighton with some snazzy eating fitted in.

For dinner on Saturday my friend and I went a-hunting for something to eat nearby to Euston Station. Our first attempt was Hummus Bros on Southampton Row however Mrs. Brains here failed to notice their opening times 'Mon-Fri'! Luckily it wasn't much of a walk to our next option, Orchard. This was located in quite a charming 'Edwardian arcade' and we took advantage of the mild weather and sat outside.
After a little confusion regarding how much bread was available, I ordered the soup of the day, leek and potato with a drizzle of chive oil, and this came with some yummy salty and nutty bread, like nothing I've ever tried before!

The menu also included a vegan sandwich and about 5 out of the ten 'plates' (of which they say you should buy 2-3 per person) were also vegan. The staff were very friendly if a little unclear about their bread situation! Prices were reasonable and we both felt lovely and full for just under £18 between us.

On Sunday another friend (hey little miss popular ay, 2 friends!) popped down to Brighton for a catch up and so we headed to one of my favourites, Wai Kika Moo Kau for lunch. I have always got the mini vegan breakfast here, it's just consistently great and a steal at £3.50. This time, however, I decided to break the mould and went for the bang-bang tofu wrap which was amazing noms. Baked tofu with coriander and lime and sweet and sour sauce on lettuce in a toasted wrap, mmmmm.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Cauliflower Broccoli Bake

Thought I would do a little twist on our usual mac n cheese with broccoli yesterday and instead utilised the oven, and a cauliflower. This is by no means a recipe, just an experiment that I though I'd share.
1.First I boiled one head of cauliflower cut into large florets in salted water for 3 minutes before adding a head of broccoli cut into equal sized pieces for a further 2 minutes. (Preheat the oven ~180 degrees)
2. I then drained the veg well and used kitchen towel to soak up any excess moisture.
3. I laid the veg into a casserole dish and poured over the sauce from our favourite mac n cheese recipe (Chef Chloe's duh!).
4. After sprinkling some paprika over the top I baked it for approx 20 minutes.
In retrospect I think this would make a better side dish rather than main, and perhaps a higher sauce to veg ratio with slightly more soy milk in the sauce. Still a yummy & healthy dinner :)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Banana bread - like an edible hug.

As I mentioned in my last post I'm feeling under the weather today. And, despite spending most of the day in bed/on the sofa under a blankie, I managed to create a wonderful banana bread which made me feel better for at least ten minutes.

I stuck to this recipe exactly and didn't add the optional nuts/fruit. It was so easy and made an impressive bake. I used a 6" round cake tin and this would make 8 nice sized slices (Although half the recipe disappeared between two of us in the space of half an hour). My top tip would be to use a whisk when mashing the bananas, works much better than a fork IMO.
Queue banana bread montage:

And the winner is...

Tracy P!

Two tickets will be winging their way to Tracy very soon, watch that letterbox!
Thanks everyone for taking part, give-aways are so fun, might have to do another in the future.

In other news I'm an ill one today. Been snuggled up in bed watching Great British Bake Off but I think it's now time to get down to the kitchen and get some feel good baking going.
I think I'l attempt this recipe for banana bread, with all those good reviews how could I pass it up!
Will be back with the low down later today.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Cooking for one.

It's not as sad as it sounds, I almost never eat alone so this was a great chance to try something that Josh is overly suspicious of, zucchini pasta!
I picked up a few zucchini tips from A Girl Called Jack, a never ending source of ideas.

Start by frying half an onion, then add a large, finely chopped mushroom. Once soft, add half a tin of tomatoes and 1/4 tsp crushed chili. Leave to simmer.
Whilst the sauce is reducing, slice zucchini (courgette!) lengthways and then slice each half lengthways again. Then use a potato peeler to peel thin ribbons. Crush one clove garlic and fry garlic and zucchini slices in a little oil. These will be ready after just a few minutes.  
Add a little s&p to the sauce to taste and ladle over the ribbons.
This pic is actually only half a  zucchini, I struggled getting my portion size right to feed just me, plus I'd been snacking loads! Usually we just hoover up whatever I make unless we make looooads in which case it gets tupperware-d.  Any tips for portion control?

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Chef Chloe does it again.

I haven't been feeling too great the last couple of days, a certain someone has passed on the mother of all sore throats but that didn't stop me making a dreeeeamy lunch on Friday (but did stop me from posting about it till now... or perhaps that was the multiple episodes of Great British Bake Off I've been watching in bed?!)
Had to crush the bun to fit it in the toaster!
This is my version of Chef Chloe's Hawaiian Sloppy Joes, I made quite a few changes to fit with what I had in the fridge but maan was it tasty!
My subs were:
Normal (and cheapo) mushrooms from Aldi instead of crimini
Yellow bell pepper instead of green
Cooked red lentils instead of a can
Can of chopped tomatoes instead of tomato sauce
Tinned pineapple instead of fresh
My only advice for this is to chop those mushrooms before you start if you haven't got a food processor, otherwise things may get a little hectic (almost inevitable in my kitchen anyway!)

It really was rather fantastic and honestly, I've come to expect nothing less from Chef Chloe.
Do you find yourselves making lots of substitutions in recipes or do you make the effort to get in the right ingredients ahead of time?

Don't forget to enter my VegFest give-away if you haven't done so yet!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

VegFest Tickets Giveaway!

Sooo, now that we are over halfway through VeganMoFo, I'm starting to notice how much I repeat meals!
Tonight I'll be having the tofu scramble I blogged about last week and I tomorrows dinner will likely be puff pastry pizza again. I think it's time I started trying out some new tricks so will be browsing blogs and books for some fresh ideas.
In the meantime I have a give-away for you!
Remember when the lovely folks at The Mighty Fork ran a competition and I won tickets to Vegfest? Well the tickets have arrived and they've sent Saturday as well as Sunday! Unfortunately I can't make both days so I have two tickets for Sunday 6th October to give away, hooray!a Rafflecopter giveaway And just incase Give-aways aren't your bag, here's a piccy of the bread I baked last night.
Apologies for the aaaawful phone pic!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Tofu Scramble

Been a long while since I've posted a proper recipe, this isn't exactly proper but it's what I did to make my lunch so I'm going to say it counts. It's a bit of a throw everything in the pan kinda meal, but it's delish, easy and quick so ticks all my boxes.

Ingredients: (in brackets is what I used today but can be varied to different tastes/fridge contents)
Garlic (2 cloves, minced)
Peppers (half a red pepper and half a cup of frozen mixed peppers)
Mushrooms (about 3/4 cup)
Broccoli (about a cup)
Frozen peas and sweetcorn (half a cup of each)
Tofu (I used half a pack of Mori-Nu firm)
Soysauce (a heavy handed shake)
Turmeric (a good sprinkling)

1. Fry onion in veg oil in a large fryingpan/wok until translucent.
2. Add approx 1 tbsp soy sauce and all veggies inc. garlic
3. Let sizzle for a couple of minutes until mushrooms have softened.
4. Add tofu. I fork it out of the pack into the pan to get a good scramble consistency.
5. Sprinkle turmeric, salt and pepper into the pan and continue to stir for 5 mins.
6. Enjoy (with extra soy sauce to taste).

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Oh brother

As I mentioned in my last post, my brother, James, popped down to Brighton for a swift visit this weekend.
Despite usually eating really badly (his words) he was really open to trying some new foods and actually really liked them (his words again). Here's a quick round up of what we ate.
Friday morning, Brunch at Rock Ola:
We both had the anytimer breakfast, I couldn't persuade him to try the vegan option but I thoroughly enjoyed it (too excited to take a picture obviously). We (josh and I) have been to Rock Ola a few times, and I'm always excited to to see the kitsch salt and pepper pots and have some yummy grub. My breakfast included 2 sausages, bacon (I'm yet to find a vegan bacon that isn't just vegan ham in a different shape), lots of baby mushrooms, tomatoes on the vine, 3 hash browns and a slice of toast. Lovely and filling. I love having lots of different tastes on the plate and don't usually go to the effort to recreate this at home (I should though!)

For lunch we paid a visit to Vbites, I had a wrap with lime and coriander chicky with mint mayo which was a really good meld of flavours. I think it might have been better if the chicky was in smaller chunks as it felt a bit 'substituty' at points. James had my favourite, the Hickory Chicky burger and as expected, loved it.

I cooked a basic stir fry for dinner, with red pepper, brocolli, carrots, noodles and loving hut 'lucky chunks'.

And now that James is safely back home the house feels just a little emptier...

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Cupcake quiff.

Hullo me again,
Wanted to show off my first attempt at piping icing which I attempted a few weeks ago:
Quite pretty huh?
I can't say I reeeally loved these cakes, they were nice but I soooo prefer savoury to sweet and these were super sweet! They did get glowing reviews from my 3 taste testers though so definitely worth a shot if you have a sweet tooth. I used the recipe from Scrummy Inklings.
This is how I filled my piping bag, not sure if it's how everyone does it?...
My brother is coming to visit for the weekend so I'll will be attempting to wow him with some vegan treats (and of course the sights and sounds of Brighton) and the remainder of this afternoon will be spent creating my almost famous peanut butter banana cookies to perk him up after a 4 hour train journey to get here!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A Contributors Contribution


Thought it was time I gave someone else a go, so I'm handing the keyboard over to my boyfriend Josh. Josh lives with me in Brighton and has just finished a Masters degree in Literature & Philosophy. He often gets sidelined in the kitchen but tonight he had his chefs hat on and created a masterpiece!

Thank you to the lead rambler for asking me to do this; thank you to the rambler audience for listening to me doing this. The idea for the recipe first came to me in a dream, some two years ago, and, not knowing how to act on it, the idea (for the recipe) slipped back into my subconscious. There it stayed – until now, today, when it mysteriously surfaced again via a daydream. Who are we to understand the (mysterious) workings of the brain? Who are we?

I began by taking the pizza base from its transparent envelope (I slipped it off, like a garment (underwear)) and set it out flat on the kitchen surface, like a corpse. I then took a jar of pasta sauce and, sensing the sauce’s potential for flexibility, used it as pizza topping. About half of a small jar (as to the precise weight of the jar: your guess is as good as mine) was adequate. I spread it all over in equal measure, with all the sensitive - and professional - touch of a masseuse spreading oil 'pon a back (and here I don’t allude to prostitution: I actually mean a masseuse). With that accomplished, I took just under half a packet of  cheese (Vegusto - ed.)and cut it into thin slices. This is where I really came into my own; I didn’t just directly lay the cheese onto the base – like flowers onto a grave – but instead worked to massage the cheese (that again!) into even thinner and wider pieces: thus covering as much of the base as I could.

I should say that, whilst this was going on, I had sent a couple of Sainsbury’s vegetarian sausages into the oven for cooking. After 10 minutes I removed them, cut them up, and added them on top of the base, sauce and cheese. I tore them into reasonably small pieces, thus allowing them, like the cheese before it, to spread out across the field. I added a little oil (don’t know which), placed the whole thing onto a baking tray and then into the oven. I left it for 20 uneasy minutes before removing, slicing up, and eating. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Winner Dinner!

You know when you spend all day thinking about a particular meal and how you can make it perfect and then when you eat it it's just heavenly? That happened to me today.

I got 4 more tomatoes from my plants in the garden yesterday and was wondering how to do them justice; simultaneously we got a big delivery from Sainsbury's including Meridian Vegan Pesto. I also had a little of the Vegusto melty cheese left and all three combined to make a real winner.

Before I forget, UK readers may or may not be aware that the Sainsbury's website now has the filter 'suitable for vegans'. This was definitely useful for some searches (breakfast cereal anyone?!) but I did notice there were items that I know are vegan which did not appear under the filter. The website has only just changed so hopefully over time it will become more accurate.

Back to the delicious dinner,
I couldn't even joke about calling this a recipe but here's what I did to create my yummys.
1. Cook spaghetti in boiling water - add olive oil at boyfriends request
2. When spaghetti has 2 mins cooking time left add tomatoes, quartered.
3. When spaghetti is cooked, drain and stir through half the jar of pesto.
4. Sprinkle tiny chunks of cheese over pasta.
How cool is this 'Pasta Pig'?!
Another  part of the Sainsbury's delivery was kale. I don't think I've ever eaten kale before... Suggestions for it's uses very welcome, will attempt a green smoothie tonight, fingers crossed!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival

Quite a mouthful...literally! (oh I'm cringing at the awfulness of this pun already)
We took a delightful wander up and down New Road, Brighton today perusing the many stalls of the Food and Drink festival. Mushrooms, cider, jam, sausage, falafel, fish, all colours of the food spectrum represented.

Spied this awesome salad from a distance, I've never eaten flowers/petals before and it's something I really want to try! With so much food available though, salad wasn't going to cut it for lunch.

We then came across Titbits catering who had some really tempting nibbles on offer. They run a pop-up restaurant just down our road every Friday which we've been meaning to visit for ages but it's quite pricey and the right special occasion just hasn't arrived yet.

I went for a sweetcorn fritter with fresh tomato salsa and Josh opted for a sundried tomato sausage roll.
They both tasted sooo good and were presented so nicely, I almost don't want to mention that josh found a pebble when he tried a bite of mine! Luckily there were no broken teeth so we moved on unperturbed.

There were a few freebies on offer along the course of the road. I tried some delicious olives, if only my purse could stretch to such whims as my stomach demands!
We finally decided on trying this for lunch:
I was drawn in by the words 'banana curry' and thrilled to find out everything was Vegan. The kind lady working the stall talked me through everything. (I've got quite a low spice threshold!) Then she filled up my tub with mixed 'stir fried veg', layered on banana curry, added chili bean sauce and then topped with avacado and lime on top. We added a tiny bit of lime pickle at the corner too.

Fortunately we were less than a minutes walk from the pavilion gardens so sat in the sun having a munch! One portion of this was enough for both of us but we still had space to share a slice of Chocolate cake from the Vbites stall! (no photo as we were in a rush for the cinema, guess I'll just have to go back again!)

Is this my longest blog post ever? Big hug for sticking around. xx

Saturday, 7 September 2013


Just a quick post today as there weren't many vegan happenings, happening.
For dinner tonight I made one of A Girl Called Jack's recipes. I've been following her blog religiously for the last 4-5 months. Some great cheap vegan recipes there (although she was only fully vegan for lent this year) and she also posts some fiery political stuff which I love.
Anyway here's some rubbish phone pics of these burgers! (and my bev of choice for tonight)

Planning a trip to Brighton food fest tomorrow if the weather holds up. Out with the camera!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Puff pastry Pizza

This is Joshs, he's far better at cheese spreading than me!
We used to make this aallll the time at our old house, since we moved we've just stopped for some reason, possibly because we mainly have the kitchen to ourselves now so I can spend longer 'slaving'. over the hob ;) anyway I was reminded of it by one of @kitsunesuki's recent instagrams and it tasted even better than i remembered.
 This is such a good no brainer meal. Just a pasta sauce/pizza sauce/tomato puree base, whatever veggies you've got in the fridge or freezer and optional cheese. We used the ready rolled puff pastry from Aldi but have also used jus-roll etc before. Equally good.
Today ours included broccoli, onion, mushrooms, frozen peppers and frozen sweetcorn and we topped it with Vegusto melty cheese. Vegusto is the best vegan cheese I've ever tried, unfortunately it's mightily expensive

(like all the good cheeses I guess) at £7.50 for 400g so I don't buy it too much. - And I try to stop the other half buying it all the time too!

(I made it really big to make up for forgetting so far this month!)
P.S. I just snuck to the kitchen for a couple of spoons of late night peanut butter hehehe.