Sunday, 19 July 2015

Chika's Smoked Almonds

Back in #TVK19 from The Vegan Kind, there was a pack of plantain crisps by Chika's. I didn't enjoy these - I think I couldn't get my head around the whole plantain chip thing - but it seems that the lovely people at Chika's read my blog and wanted to give me something I would like instead! How nice is that?!

I said that I'd love to try something else, providing it's vegan - and they informed me that all their products are vegan! Brilliant! They sent me over a packet of their Smoked Almonds:


These were gorgeous! The smokey flavour was lovely - and I really enjoy almonds anyway! I'll definitely be buying these if I see them in a shop!

Thanks Chika's!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Summer Steampunk Market

Two weeks ago was the Summer Steampunk Market, held by the lovely people at Leeds Steampunk Market, as part of Leeds Waterfront Festival.


We've been visiting the Steampunk Market since before I was set up as a business, so it's great to be able to trade there. This summer market was the best one yet in terms of trading!


We took some old favourites...

 

 

And some new flavours...

 



And received some lovely feedback...

"Fantastic cakes 5 stars from all of us at the Fire Engine today, at the Steam Punk Market :)"




What a fantastic day! Unfortunately I'm going to miss the next market, as some friends are getting married the same weekend but I should be back for the December market with some lovely Christmassy Steampunky cakes!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

#TVK20 (plus recipe!)

Box number 21 from The Vegan Kind is currently waiting for me at the post office, so I guess I should post my review of box 20 before I pick up the new one tomorrow!


#TVK20 was another great box:

Sweet Freedom Choc Shot Coconut
Roots Hand Cooked Vegetable Crisps with a Pinch of Sea Salt
Elements for Life Yummy Scrummy
Friendly Soap
Pip and Nut Almond Butter Squeeze Pack

Sweet Freedom Choc Shot Coconut

It's no secret that I love Sweet Freedom. They have some great products that I love for baking (or eating on toast... or with a spoon...). I heard a while ago that they had started selling a coconut version and an orange version of their Choc Shot product but I've been really struggling to find them anywhere! (I have since found the coconut one in Holland and Barrett.) Choc Shot is so versatile - you can use it in baking, it makes great hot chocolate, and we often have it in our overnight oats. I've included a little recipe for you using Choc Shot below. The coconut version is divine! Now I just need to find the orange one!

Roots Hand Cooked Vegetable Crisps with a Pinch of Sea Salt

I love vegetable crisps but for some reason I haven't tried these yet - I think I forgot I had them! The bag has a mix of carrot, parsnip and beetroot crisps - yummy! I imagine I'll be digging into them soon...

Elements for Life Yummy Scrummy

I'm often wary of raw chocolate. I think I've had a few bad experiences where it's been very bitter and crumbly, so now I have to build myself up to trying new brands. My fears were needless though, as this raw chocolate brownie was very tasty - even Mr Hatter liked it and he doesn't like darker chocolate.

Friendly Soap

I've not tried this soap yet as I currently have one from Lush on the go, but it smells beautiful and is certified with both the Vegan Society and Leaping Bunny logos, so that's good enough for me!

Pip and Nut Almond Butter Squeeze Pack

This almond butter was really tasty! We had it in our overnight oats one morning with some raisins. (Yes we do eat overnight oats pretty much every day.) I found the single serving packet a little tricky to use though. It's a great idea but I found it hard to open, and then hard to squeeze out all the lovely nut butter. Maybe it's just me!


This month's featured charity was Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage, who are the first and only no-kill rabbit shelter in Victoria, Australia. 10p from every box sold will be donated to them.


This month's recipe was another from The Vegan Cookie Fairy - "Coconut Chocolate Stracciatella Shake with Choc Shot". Yum!


And now time for my choc shot recipe!

You may have seen the recent buzz about aquafaba, or "bean water" - the next big thing in vegan egg replacers. I've been doing a few experiments with it recently, some of which will hopefully make it to the blog. Anyway, I decided to make chocolate banana brownies using the water from a can of red kidney beans as my egg replacer*. It ended up being more of a chocolate banana cake, as it was too light and fluffy to be called a brownie - but oh my, the fluffiness was amazing!

*You can use tinned bean water or save your cooking water if you cook them from dried. Check out the aquafaba website for more info, and also the facebook group Vegan Meringue - Hits and Misses. I'll post up a more detailed blog about aquafaba soon!

Chocolate Banana Cake Bars



200g plain flour
50g light brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 ripe bananas, mashed
75ml olive oil
3 tbsp aquafaba
2 tbsp Choc Shot (I used the coconut version but any will work)

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a brownie tin with greaseproof paper.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add the mashed banana and wet ingredients. Mix to combine but be sure not to overmix.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then slice into 8 bars.

Simple!




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Monday, 6 July 2015

Vegan Life Issue 6

If you've been paying attention, you will have noticed that I made a blog post with the same title as this on Saturday. Wellll..... I messed up! I was planning to review issue 6 but ended up posting about issue 5 (which I'd already reviewed...) because I saved my images in the wrong place! Doh!

So here's the REAL Vegan Life Magazine issue 6 review :)


This issue was all about protein - because according to some people, we vegans don't get enough! I think the interview with Patrik Baboumian (record-winning strongman) definitely disproves the "vegans get no protein" theory. This guy is STRONG!

Issue 6 was also stuffed full of perfectly protein packed summer recipes - I am definitely going to have to test out some of these...



As if that wasn't enough, there were also some gorgeous looking puddings... Mmmmm...


I LOVE the new feature, "The Accidental Vegan". There are so many accidentally vegan items out there but trying to find them can be a nightmare. Who wants to stand in the supermarket checking the back of every packet of biscuits to find the one that has no milk? Not me! (But then again, I would usually bake my own anyway!) This feature removes the hardship of checking everything and offers up some great hidden vegan-friendly gems. I really hope this stays as a regular feature.


Lastly. Vegan Life has yet again made me long to travel - this time to Japan! It was already on my list (hello Studio Ghibli museum!) but I've found somewhere else I must visit - an "island full of insanely cute animals"!!!


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Salted Cashew Fudge

Back in box number 18 from The Vegan Kind, I received a packet of Coconom ginger coconut sugar. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make fudge with it. Coconut sugar has a rich, caramel-like flavour to it which is perfect for fudgey treats. I thought I'd try to keep it a little healthier than traditional fudge, and I had a jar of cashew butter in the cupboard that had just been waiting for the right recipe to come along... voila!


This fudge is smooth, creamy and gorgeous - you wouldn't know it was secretly healthy!

 


Salted Cashew Fudge

170g cashew butter (1 small jar)
40g vegan margarine
75g coconut sugar
1 tsp ground vanilla
1 tsp salt - flaked or chunky sea salt

1. Line a small loaf tin with baking parchment.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until fully melted.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.

4. Put the fudge in the freezer for 3 hours, until nice and firm, then cut into 16 squares.

You can eat straight away or store in the fridge for later. It does become smoother and more flavourful after a little time in the fridge. We ate all our fudge within the first few days, so I can't tell you how long it lasts!

I used cashew butter because it has quite a smooth, soft flavour. I'm sure this would work with other nut butters - please do let me know how it goes if you try a different one!



Nutrition info based on 16 servings:

Saturday, 4 July 2015

#TVK19

Another catch-up post!

I feel so bad that I've fallen behind on my blogging duties for The Vegan Kind. This weekend I'm going to try to catch up so that when my new box arrives, I can blog about it straight away. So let's start with box number 19...


Chika's Chilli Plantain Crisps
Sarelle Hazelnut & Dark Chocolate Cream Filled Wafer
Ecobamboo Medium Toothbrush with Round Handle
Olive Branch Mezze Sundried Tomato Paste
Good Full Stop Fruit and Nut Based Mint Chocolate Bar
Taking The Pea Sweet Chilli Salsa

Unfortunately, I didn't get any good photos of the individual items. The wafer bar was a bit smashed up when it arrived and not very photogenic, we used the tomato paste with some spinach gnocchi but the photo just didn't look appetising, and the others I just didn't get around to photographing!

Chika's Chilli Plantain Crisps

I've never had plantain before, but as it was described as an equivalent to the potato on the packet, I went in with an open mind - while trying very hard to get the thought of banana chips (yuck) out of my head. The chilli flavour was quite pleasant, but I couldn't get my head around the texture of these crisps. I would like to try plantain again but these crisps just weren't for me.

Sarelle Hazelnut & Dark Chocolate Cream Filled Wafer

This was amazing. This yummy wafer bar was filled with hazelnut cream and coated in delicious chocolate. It's definitely something I would buy again!

Ecobamboo Medium Toothbrush with Round Handle

I've seen these eco friendly toothbrushes popping up all over the internet recently. They are made of moso bamboo, which is not eaten by pandas, and is 100% biodegradable. You can even put it on your compost heap! I've not tried this yet as my current toothbrush is still good, but I am looking forward to having one less plastic item to throw away.

Olive Branch Mezze Sundried Tomato Paste

I love pesto and pesto-related items. This sundried tomato paste, while not being a pesto, came very close. We ate it with some spinach gnocchi and the flavour combination was fantastic. I would love to get my hands on some more of this,

Good Full Stop Fruit and Nut Based Mint Chocolate Bar

This bar was made of dates, raisins, cashews blended with date syrup, chocolate pieces, and natural essences and fruit pieces. As I don't like mint, I handed it over to Mr Hatter to test out and he confirmed that it was tasty - although he would prefer it to be a little mintier.

Taking The Pea Sweet Chilli Salsa

Taking The Pea have a range of pea-based snacks, very similar to chickpea-based snacks that I've tried before. In fact, I didn't realise until after I started eating them that they were peas, not chickpeas! The sweet chilli salsa was a tasty flavour to compliment the crunchy peas.


This month's featured charity was Hugletts Wood Farm Animal Sanctuary, who are the only sanctuary in the UK to operate a dedicated cow protection program. 10p from every box sold will be donated to them.


This month's recipe was from Coconut and Berries - "Vegan Pizza Potato Skins", using the sundried tomato paste from Olive Branch. Sounds lush!


If you like what you've seen, you can subscribe to your own monthly box here for a cost of £10 per month plus shipping.