Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Vegan MoFo - Day 30!

The last day of Vegan MoFo has brought with it my mystery box from The Vegan Kind! Woohoo!

The Mystery Boxes are ace - at a cheaper price than the monthly box, you get an awesome selection of bits and bobs that have been in previous boxes. Who wouldn't like that?!

I just want to say a huge WOW to today's randommofo post - LOOK AT THIS PIZZA from Vie De La Vegan!

What an awesome MoFo - I can't believe it's over already! I did miss a few days here and there but to say I hadn't planned anything, I think I managed to keep up pretty well despite how busy work and life have been. Now to sleep.

See you all next year for some more MoFo fun!

Or maybe, like, in a few days or weeks when I put up another blog...

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Vegan MoFo - The Beginning Of The End

So we're into the final few days of MoFo and I don't really have the time or energy to create anything fancy - I'm sorry!

I'm am still eating tasty vegan food but it's super easy food. Today we had pasta with Mr Organic sauce and the new Violife parmesan style cheese. Yum! (Sorry about the crap photo.)

Today's random post of the day - look at these gorgeous muffins by Herbivore's Heaven!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Vegan MoFo - Day 27 - Favourite herb or spice

Today, Vegan MoFo would like me to tell you about my favourite herb or spice. There really was no contest here, my favourite spice is paprika all the way.

We Mexican food quite regularly, and all our Mexican dishes contain paprika. I really wanted to create a dish where paprika is the star of the show though so I decided on goulash, where paprika is really the only spice used.

I love goulash, it's a real wintery comfort food. Who can resist a big bowl of hot, thick, tasty stew on a cold day? It always reminds me of our honeymoon in Romania, as the area that we stayed in had a large Hungarian population and the food reflected that. If you ever want to to go Romania, I can't recommend this place enough - Count Kalnocky's Guesthouses. We went for the all inclusive option, which meant we barely spent any money while we were out there. I was extremely well catered for, which was awesome! Just make sure you let them know about your dietary choices in advance and they'll prepare excellent vegan versions of the meals. All the excursions were included too, and our guides either brought a packed lunch or took us out to eat - they even bought us our snacks!

Goulash is one of those dishes that varies country to country, area to area, and even household to household. Goulash (gulyás) is traditionally made with beef, onions, paprika, green pepper and tomatoes. It falls somewhere in between a soup and a stew but the consistency varies depending on the chef. I replaced the beef with seitan, added a red pepper along with the green and more tomatoes than most recipes call for - so I don't know how authentic it is but it's damn tasty! I also added sauerkraut this time, as I spotted it as a variation while researching this post - it's called "székelygulyás" when you add sauerkraut.

Not-quite-authentic Székelygulyás
Serves 2-3

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 medium potato, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 seitan steaks, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
3/4 - 1 cup stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp smoked paprika
1 cup sauerkraut, drained

1. Saute the onion and potato for around 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. The potato may try to stick to the pan - if so you can add a splash of stock to loosen it again. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add the seitan steaks and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and cook for another couple of minutes.

3. Add the stock, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and paprika. Stir through, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes have softened.

4. Add the sauerkraut and cook for another 5 minutes or so until everything is hot.

5. Serve with a dollop of vegan sour cream (or in this case, cream cheese).

Today's randommofo find is this post about Brussels Sprout Waffles by Vegany One. There have been a few waffle posts this year - or maybe I've just noticed them more after following Hasta La Vegan's epic month of waffles!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A Vegan MoFo Catch Up

I missed two consecutive Vegan MoFo days! I feel so guilty! I think I had pretty good reasons though...

I spent Thursday evening baking cinnamon buns for the Macmillan Coffee Morning that was held at work on Friday. They went down really well!

And then yesterday Mr Hatter and I had a long overdue date night with a mountain of food and a corny, if still reasonably creepy movie...

Also, I'm ignoring the prompts for Thur-Sat, despite there being some pretty good ones in there!


Today we went to Veg Out in Leeds for some vegan food and live music! It was £5 entry per person, which I think is pretty reasonable if you're going to be there all day and watch a few of the bands. However, the room where the bands were playing was rather small which made the music sound rather loud! Plus we didn't know any of the bands, so we didn't stick it out and spent most of our time outside where the food was. I'd recommend it if you want to go for the full day, but if you're mostly there for the food (like we were), £5 entry is a little steep.

It was definitely time for some lunch when we arrived, and we both decided to eat from Beets & Beans:

I opted for the Beets & Bean Patti and Fried Garlic Potatoes and I was not disappointed. The patty was very tasty and came in a chunk of gorgeous bread. The garlic potatoes were fantastic - I could have eaten an entire plate of them and nothing else!

We also had some amazing cake from That Old Chestnut. I had the Almond & Raspberry Tart and Mr Hatter had the Coffee & Walnut Cake. A big thumbs up on both counts!

We then ventured inside the Northern Monk building to have a drink and attempt to watch the live music, before giving up and coming back outside where it was a bit more chilled and we could actually talk to each other. I wanted to try something from all the vendors but I was so stuffed, I don't think I could have eaten anything else! So instead, we got some food to take away...

A couple of huge foccacia from Leeds Bread Co-op! Mr Hatter picked the classic Rosemary & Sea Salt, while I went for the more exotic Walnut, Apple and Squash. Unfortunately none of their sweet treats were vegan but we've had their bread before and it's always very tasty.

Also, we couldn't resist getting a couple of slices of chocolate orange tiffin from That Old Chestnut to bring home with us...

We had a very tasty day!

Today's randommofo choice goes to this Monster Eggplant Stack from Dandelion Vegan Blog. It looks lovely!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Vegan MoFo - Day 23 - Autumn Equinox Eats

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt is "Autumn Equinox Eats". Today marks the start of Autumn, where day and night are the same length. I mean today, not the whole season...

As such, I wanted to create a special post. I did some research about traditional autumnal recipes and discovered Chinese Moon Cake, which is served during an Autumn festival. It sounds lovely - a sweet seed or bean paste encased in pastry.

I scoured everywhere I could think of to find some lotus seed paste or red bean paste but could I find them anywhere?! So unfortunately there will be no moon cakes in the Mad Hatter household. Sad face.

I did manage to grab some noodles and seitan on my travels though, so I decided to throw together a meal using some of these instead...

We picked the Green Tea Noodles and the Peking Vegetarian Roast Duck, along with some other ingredients (I didn't use the curry sauce in the end):

Thrown-Together Equinox Noodles
Serves 2

1 pack dried mushrooms
100g noodles
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 red onion
2 peppers (different colours)
6 mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 tsp white miso
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 can vegetarian duck
2 tsp nori sprinkle

1. Cook the dried mushrooms in a small pan of boiling water while you prep the veg - about 5-10 minutes.
2. Slice the veg into similarly sized pieces. Slice the garlic thinly.
3. Heat a wok and add the toasted sesame oil.
4. Add the noodles to the boiling mushrooms, along with some extra hot water if needed. Cook for around 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, add vegetables (including garlic) to the hot wok and cook for around 5 minutes, stirring often so that they do not stick.
6. When the noodles and dried mushrooms are cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
7. Add the miso and soya sauce to the wok, and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the mock duck and heat through.
8. Once everything in the wok in piping hot, dish it up onto two plates and sprinkle with the nori.
9. Add the drained noodles and mushrooms to the wok and stir for a couple of minutes until heated through. Pile these onto the plates next to the veg/mock duck mix.
9. Eat!

We hadn't tried this type of noodle or this brand of mock duck before and we very much enjoyed them! The mock duck had a good texture - some of the brands we've tried before have been a little rubbery. So despite being disappointed that we couldn't have moon cakes, I think we did okay!

Today's favourite randommofo is OH MY GOD I NEED THIS NOW Cinnamon Roll Waffles by Hasta La Vegan. These sound so effing good! I made cinnamon buns at the weekend and may or may not be slightly obsessed now. Weirdly, this is one of the blogs that I follow anyway but I haven't got around to checking my emails yet so I'm super happy this popped up on my random search!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Vegan MoFo - Day 22 - Seasonal Produce

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt is "Make a dish using all seasonal produce". Well. To be honest, I'm rubbish at knowing what's currently in season. I wish there was a farmer's market near me so that I didn't have to think about it!

So I have no seasonal dish for you today but I do have a photo of my scrummy sammich, again from Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day (YOU NEED THIS BOOK!).

Open-faced asparagus sammiches with yummy creamy sauce. There's even some tofu buried in there somewhere...

And because I want to share something seasonal, here's a photo of a caramel apple bundt cake that I made...

For today's post, I recoomend checking out these Mongolian Soy Curls from Vegan Mos.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Vegan MoFo - Day 21 - Desert Island Times...

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt took a lot of thinking about:

"What three endless food supplies would you take if you were going to be stranded on an island?
(Imagine your nutritional needs have been met, these are a bonus!)"

How do you choose just three food items?? I thought looooong and hard and I think I have a sort of answer...

1. V Revolution burgers.

These things are awesome. If I could live off these, meet all my nutritional needs and not get super fat then that would be amazing. Seriously, if you're ever anywhere near Manchester, you NEED to get to this place and try their food.

2. Vego chocolate bars.

This bar is choc-full (ha!) of hazelnutty goodness and smooth chocolate. It's like a huge bar of nutella smooshed into actual chocolate with real whole hazelnuts, and totally cruelty free (except to your waistline!). YUM!

3. Dang Coconut Chips

Item number 3 was the hardest. For a long time, I thought it was going to be Booja Booja coconut ice cream. But then I remembered Dang coconut chips. These things are immense! Especially the salted caramel ones! America will not know what hit it when we get there later this year. I am going to go to town on these things!

Favourite post today? OH MY GOODNESS LOOK AT THIS - Coconut and Chocolate Ice Cream Cake !!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Vegan MoFo - Day 20 - Playing Catch Up

Unfortunately I missed yesterday's Vegan MoFo post! (It was "Lunch on the go".) Sometimes life just happens... Today's prompt is "Veganise an old family recipe", which I would love to do if it wasn't already 5:30pm. I do still want to post something though, so I'll show you some of the vegan goodies that you can find at Leeds train station - so it does kind of link into the "lunch on the go" theme.

**Please note that one or two of these were purchased while I was in a rush, and on closer inspection I realised they contained palm oil. I don't know whether this was sustainable palm or not.**

From Starbucks:

Most Starbucks drinks can be made vegan using soya milk (or the newly implemented coconut milk). Check out this post for a list of vegan items at Starbucks UK. I'm mostly avoiding Starbucks at the moment, due to their lack of action regarding the palm oil in their snacks, but it's still good to know you can get something from here if needed. Hopefully they'll pay attention to us asking for them to sort out the palm oil situation soon!

Moreish Meze - it even states SFV on the packaging! I was impressed with this and would buy it again for a quick meal.


From WHSmith:

Falafel with Lemon & Coriander Houmous sammich. This was pretty tasty, although it is one of the products where I noticed palm oil hiding in the ingredients list. I think it's great how clearly labelled it is though!

Graze snack boxes:

I buy these from Sainsbury's and have found them to be a great snack on the way home after a long day at work. Not all the snack boxes are vegan, so be sure the check the ingredients thoroughly.

My favourite post today is this one (in German) by Melis Bunte Studentenkueche. It looks yummy!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 18 - MoFoing KITTENS!

Today's Vegan MoFo prompt is:

Honour a human or non human animal who inspires your veganism.

As if I need a reason to blog about my cats?!

I've shared photos of our kitties before but I'm not sure I've given you any background on them, so here's a bit of a picture story for you.

**WARNING - This is a photo-heavy post!**

We adopted our cats from Cats Protection way back in 2013 when I was made redundant (thank you Thomas Cook!). They ended up at Cats Protection with their lovely mother, Poppy - only a kitten herself at 18 months old. When we went to visit them, the foster carer told us that lots of people won't take cats with this colouring because they "clash with the curtains". I don't have words for how appalling I think those people are.

This is the only photo I have of their beautiful mummy cat!
Originally we were just going to take the two girls (who we renamed Rei and Asuka) but we couldn't leave little Shinji on his own so we ended up taking him too!

The were soooo tiny at the foster home!
I was out of work for a month and these three tiny balls of fluff kept me (mostly) sane while I desperately tried to find a new job. I'm not sure how I would have survived the hours upon hours of job hunting without these guys and their funny little faces.

For the first week or so they didn't really venture out of their room, instead preferring to huddle together under the sofa in their room. (Yes, our cats have their own room.) Eventually they ventured out...

L-R Rei, Asuka, Shinji
They like to sleep...

They like to peep...

They love to play in boxes...

And above all, they are wonderfully, amazingly, unapologetically CRAZY!

Honestly, these little cuties inspire me each and every day. Once you've got to know how characterful they all are, you can't help but realise how all animals have individual personalities, likes, dislikes, etc etc. And how can you resist this beautiful face?

My find today is a lovely post from Vegga about "Auntie Jae".