Monday, 31 August 2015

#TVK22

Woohoo, I'm posting a blog about The Vegan Kind in the same month that I received the box!

This month's box contained some great goodies:


Sticky Mix Free From Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Teatonics Ruby Red Restorative Tea
iQ Orange with Wild Raspberry Chocolate Superfood Bar
Hoots Salt and Pepper Multigrain Snack
Dr Organic Virgin Olive Oil Deodorant
Beond Organic Sour Cherry Raw Bite
Beond Organic Blueberry Raw Bite

Sticky Mix Free From Belgian Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix


I don't buy cookie mixes, so I don't know if this is how they usually come, but I thought the individual bags of ingredients were a great idea. The instructions were easy to follow and the mix produced some great tasting cookies! The only ingredients you need to add yourself are butter substitute and water. I used coconut oil as my butter substitute, which made the cookies spread more than I think they were supposed to but my goodness, they tasted good! I also saved some of the cookie mix to make cookie dough ice cream with... it's currently setting in the freezer so hopefully that will work!



Teatonics Ruby Red Restorative Tea


This sounds lovely and I really want to try it - what's not to like about vanilla and cacao? However, it smells too much like teat for me. Mr Hatter is looking forward to testing these out though!

iQ Orange with Wild Raspberry Chocolate Superfood Bar

First, I need to show you how cute the packaging for this chocolate is:



The chocolate itself was lovely - a great flavour combination. It was a little on the bitter side for Mr Hatter but I really liked it. Plus, it's made using only ethically-sourced pure Criollo beans from Peru - so you can feel good about buying it!

Hoots Salt and Pepper Multigrain Snack


I've enjoyed Hoots every time I've tried them, and this flavour was just great. They have a great crunch and would make a healthier substitute for crisps at snack time. They do contain palm oil but this is apparently from a certified sustainable source. (I'm still in two minds about 'sustainable' palm oil.)

Dr Organic Virgin Olive Oil Deodorant


This deodorant has arrived at just the right time! My trusty Skin Likes roll-on from #TVK11 is just about running out, which makes it the perfect time to try this new one. All the ingredients are natural and raw where possible, and contains things like aloe vera and vitamin E to be kind to your skin. I put it to the test on Saturday, when we were walking around Manchester for IVJFD - and it was definitely put to the test! It has a lovely delicate scent, and kept my armpits smelling nice all day. Phew!

Beond Organic Sour Cherry Raw Bite
Beond Organic Blueberry Raw Bite


I've mentioned Beond bars in my blogs before - they're always a great flavour and a brilliant snack choice. I love these little bites - they're a little sweet hit without being a big snack. I hadn't tried the sour cherry flavour before but I think it's my new favourite!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

"Top Food Blogs in UK"

I got an email to say that I'd been included in a list of the 50 top food blogs in the UK! Woop! You can check out the list here, as well as in the infographic below.

Top 50 Food Blogs In UK


Credit



Listed as top uk blog


Credit

Saturday, 29 August 2015

International Vegan Junk Food Day 2015

Wow, what a day. I missed out on last year's International Vegan Junk Food Day (IVJFD), as I didn't know about it! However, this year I was prepared and I was going to make the most of it. And make the most of it, I did!

We headed over to Manchester to explore the wonderous vegan options in the city, where we started the day with a visit to Costa. In hindsight, starting a day of junk food with a filling soya chai latte (which for some reason they thought I wanted cream on?!) probably wasn't the best idea. But it was tasty so who cares!

Our plan was to head over to Teatime Collective for breakfast, but due to getting the train after the one we had planned on, we were there just after 12 and breakfast was no longer being served. Not to worry though, there was plenty of other food available! Earlier in the year, I had encountered Teatime Collective at The Great Yorkshire Vegan Festival, where they provided me with an amazing lunchtime burger - so I knew we had to visit them today.


The cafe is so cute! It's located a little outside of Manchester, in a lovely park in an area called Hulme. It's only about a half hour walk from Manchester Victoria train station though, and the weather was lovely so we didn't mind the pilgrimage. I'm sure you can get there on public transport if you don't fancy the walk, but however you want to arrive, I wholeheartedly suggest that you make the effort. We found it was a great place to sit and chill in the sunshine.

After perusing the menu, I went for a sandwich and Mr Hatter chose a burger:

‘Meatball’ and ‘Cheese’ Baguette with Homemade Tomato Sauce. Served with Salad and Fries £6.50


Smoked Tofu and ‘Chorizo’ Burger £7.00 Smoked Tofu and Homemade ‘Chorizo’ Seitan Burger. Topped with Tomato and Basil ‘Cheese’, Salad and Salsa. Served with Salad, Seasoned Fries and Mayo.


The meatball sub was so amazing that I'm almost glad we missed breakfast! (Although I did had to feed some of my bread to Mr Hatter as I just couldn't finish it!) Mr Hatter's burger was also brilliant and we've both decided we will be back there at some point. The staff are lovely too, which always helps - we had a nice chat with them before we left. With it being a "cafe and ice cream parlour", we couldn't leave without sampling the ice cream... I got oreo ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone (!!!!!) and Mr Hatter had the same cone but with mint choc chip and coffee ice creams! Oh my goodness, it was heavenly!


We headed back into Manchester happily munching our ice creams and stumbled across the gay pride parade, where we got to see the wonderful Sir Ian McKellen! He seemed genuinely lovely and he spent a lot of time meeting the crowd. Unfortunately I was behind too many tall people to get any photos of the pretty colours or the fabulous Sir Ian, but I did manage to snap a photo of the adorable bundles of joy that were next to us in the crowd:


After a wander around the comic shops, it was time to rest our legs and get a drink at Fig + Sparrow.


Our time in Manchester was brought to a close at the vegan junk food mecca that is V Revolution. I've mentioned this place before but have only previously given you one photo. Fear not, the time for photos is now!

We had some indulgent drinks:


And some fantastic food... We both wanted the special but there was only one left, so I picked something off the standard menu. At the top we have Mr Hatter's special, with my menu item in the foreground:

Chilli No Meats (special) 'Chicken' burger, 'beef' chilli, guacamole, sour cream, 'cheese' £6
Knights In Satay's Service 'Chicken' burger with peanut butter, sriracha mayo, chillies & rocket £4


We both really enjoyed our burgers. I tried a bit of Mr Hatter's chilli and it was lovely, and my peanut butter sauce - oh my! Who would have thought peanut butter on a burger would work?! I don't think I'm brave enough to try 'The Hell-vis Presley" yet though - peanut butter and banana on a burger!

As well as serving outstanding burgers and hot dogs, V Revolution also carries a stock of vegan fridge/freezer/pantry items. We came away with a small swag bag - we probably would have bought more but their card machine was unfortunately out of service.


You can't visit V Revolution without being tempted by one (or more) of Lily & Dilly's cakes. Today there were some wonderfully colourful cakes in honour of the pride celebrations but only two were available by the time we got there - so we got one of each to bring home - cherry chocolate (although to be honest, I didn't taste much cherry), and vanilla rainbow. Both were delicious and they always have such a great texture.




What a brilliant day! I love having a reason to try new food and pretty much everything I've had today has been new! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go fall into a food coma and hibernate until the next IVJFD...

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Vegan Birthdays are Best Birthdays

Mr Hatter recently decided to take the plunge and go vegan. (Yay, so exciting!) Anyway, it was his 30th birthday last month and his first birthday being vegan, so I wanted to show him just how good it can be.

With it being a special occasion, we finally made the trip over to Manchester to visit the amazing V Revolution. It certainly lived up to the hype. We had an array of burgers, hot dogs, and nachos - all of which I was too excited about to take a photo! I did manage to get a photo of the most important part of the meal though - the cakes!


It just so happened that we were also in Manchester the following weekend for ComicCon, so we ended up at V Revolution three times in the space of two weeks! They have definitely won our hearts.. So much so that we are heading back over there for our delayed anniversary celebrations to coincide with International Vegan Junk Food Day - I'M SO EXCITED!

If you've not heard about this event then you need to click the link above and get involved. A day dedicated to vegan junk food... how could you resist?! Even if you just cook up some hot dogs at home and post a picture of it on social media, you should take part somehow! I will be making it my mission to stuff as much vegan junk food in my face as possible - with no regrets!

Anyway, back to the birthday...

I couldn't let Mr Hatter's birthday pass by without making a fancy-ass cake. At the moment, his chocolate obsession is Vego - and rightly so! If you've not tried Vego, it's this amazingly chocolatey, hazelnutty, lush bar of goodness. So I decided to theme the cake around this.


What we have here, is a triple layer hazelnut sponge, filled and frosted with chocolate buttercream, with chopped hazelnuts coating the sides. It was  then drizzled with ganache and topped with whole hazelnuts and pieces of Vego bar. It was a monster!


I really loved this flavour combo and how it all came together, so I think I'm going to have to adapt this for sale on future stalls... I looooove hazelnuts!


Monday, 24 August 2015

Vegan Life Issue 7

I enjoyed Issue 7 of Vegan Life Magazine so much that I wanted to tell you about the whole thing! However, we would be here for ages so instead I'll tell you about the cover feature plus a few of my personal favourites within the magazine.

Issue 7 was all about pizza!


I love pizza. People seem to think that cheeseless pizza is pointless, but it's so versatile! You can add all sorts of things instead of the cheese - try vegan pesto, a drizzle of flavoured oil, or a handful of rocket (if it's good enough for Pizza Express...). And if you really want a cheesy pizza, there are plenty of cheese alternatives out there to try. I'm pretty picky with my vegan cheese these days, but Violife is my saviour! I also really enjoyed the Tyne Chease I bought from the vegan festival in Leeds.

Just look at all the tasty pizza you can make:



  

Don't like bread? Don't want all those extra calories? Have your pizza as a salad! Yep, you heard me. A PIZZA SALAD:


There's even an article about veganising cheese... I really want to try my hand at making vegan cheese but I've not got around to it yet. Another thing on my to-do list...


The other big part of the magazine that I really enjoyed was the numerous stories about people opening animal sanctuaries. This is something I really want to do, and reading all these success stories and seeing the photos of the happy animals just makes me want it even more. I'm trying to convince Mr Hatter that we should go on holiday to Pig Village next year to get a feel for sanctuary life and help out some beasties in the process.

LOOK HOW HAPPY THEY ALL ARE!!!




A special mention goes to this photo, which makes me want to go to Hampshire just to eat this meal. I'm not even really sure where Hampshire is...


And lastly, I want to leave you with this beautiful piece of artwork that was featured in issue 7:


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

#TVK21

Here I am with yet another late blog post... oh the shame!

I am hoping to post things in a more timely manner in the next few weeks, but we'll see what life thinks about that! Anyway, on to the blog!

Box 21 from The Vegan Kind (last month's box) had some pretty interesting things in it:


DRINKmaple Pure Organic Maple Water
Ten Acre Crisps 'The Day Sweet and Sour Became Friends'
Harpers Bizarre Washing Line Candle
Ananda Foods Chocolate Marshmallow Lolly
Clearspring Roasted Seeds and Soya with Goji Berry

DRINKmaple Pure Organic Maple Water

This is apparently "100% pure organic maple water tapped directly from maple trees". Sound amazing, right?! I loooove maple but unfortunately I just couldn't get behind this. I'm not a fan of flavoured water at the best of times but I was hopefully about the maple flavour... But nope, it just didn't do it for me I'm afraid!

Ten Acre Crisps 'The Day Sweet and Sour Became Friends'


I am a big fan of Ten Acre crisps and will happily try all of their flavours. These were just as good as the others I've tried and I would definitely buy them again! Also, the names of their flavours are just so damn cute!

Harpers Bizarre Washing Line Candle

I got a Christmassy candle from Harpers Bizarre in a previous Vegan Kind box, so I was excited to see another one in this box. It smells gorgeous! And being a lucky TVK subscriber meant that I got to smell the new improved Washing Line scent before it went on general release!

Ananda Foods Chocolate Marshmallow Lolly

 

You can't really go wrong with chocolate covered marshmallow - especially when it's covered in brightly coloured sprinkles! And it's on a stick! Food on a stick is always better...

Clearspring Roasted Seeds and Soya with Goji Berry

I've not tried this yet (to be honest, I forgot about it - but it's out of the box now and waiting to go in my work bag!), but it sounds delicious - a mix of soya beans, pumpkin seeds and goji berries. (Although the jury is still out on goji berries... it's something about the texture...)


This month's charity was Wing And A Prayer, who are based in Scotland and help to rescue and rehome ex battery hens. 10p from every box sold was given to them to help their work.


The recipe card was another mouthwatering recipe - Vegan Lass' Mediterranean Tofu Scramble. I do love a good tofu scramble!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Vintage Wedding Cupcakes

Back in April, I had the honour of making some vintage style cupcakes for a friend's wedding. They've recently managed to sort through their wedding photos and have kindly sent me some snaps of the cakes, which I'd like to share with you all. A lot of work went into these cupcakes and I think the end result is effective!

A couple of notes:

I didn't make the huge roses, just the small ones. The huge roses were provided by the bride.

I only made the cupcakes - the other items on the cake table pictured below were made by other people.

Photo credit goes to Lissa Alexandra Photography. There are some truly stunning shots of this wedding.





#TVK Mystery Box

A little while ago, The Vegan Kind were offering a "Mystery Box" at a reduced price. Of course, I snapped up the offer!


Look at all those tasty treats! We had tried all these items before in previous boxes and enjoyed them. We did get a different flavour of Olive Branch cookies this time - these almond ones are really tasty!

Moral of the story - if The Vegan Kind send you an offer, snap it up!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Bring Out The Party Cannon!!!

So this post has been waiting to be written for months now...

Way back in April, a very good friend had a very special birthday. This birthday had an awesome My Little Pony theme and I got to make the cake!!


This cake was pretty daunting, as it held a lot of "first times" for me:

1. The first time I made a 3 tier cake.

2. The first time I made vegan rice krispy treats.

3. The first time I modelled rice krispy treats.

4. The first time I transported an important cake down the motorway - super scary going up the hills where I live!

5. The first time I made a cake for a 30th birthday!




The cake was by no means perfect but I was pretty happy with the end result. And it got a good response from the birthday girl, which is all that really matters!

The cake was made up of:

Bottom layer - Chocolate Ginger Cake, decorated with Discord.

Middle layer - Lemon Cake, decorated with the "mane six" cutie marks.

Top layer - Almond Cake, decorated in the style of Princess Luna / Princess Celestia.

Very top - Gummy made out of rice krispy treats.