Sunday, 24 January 2016

Birthday Foodtimes

I love food. It's no secret. So of course, my birthday celebrations revolved around food!

The food fun started on the Thursday before my birthday (my birthday being on the Sunday), with a visit to Gimbals restaurant just down the road in Sowerby Bridge. We've been a few times before and the food has been amazing each time. They have a regularly changing seasonal menu, so it's always good to call ahead and let them know you will be going so that they can prepare you your very own vegan menu to choose from. (Yes, it's as good as it sounds!) The manager always comes over to talk to us and make sure everything she's put together is alright. It really is worth a visit if you're in the area.

This time, we decided to try something completely different - the taster menu. I've always been intrigued by the idea of a tasting menu but have never had the opportunity before. We were very impressed! Unfortunately I couldn't get any good shots of the food due to the mood lighting, but you can see the menu below. We got to try everything on here!

NOTE: The second option should read "infused tofu cheese"
Let's start at the top...

Cocktail - I picked the Slow Gin Toddy and boy did I make the right choice. I love sloe gin, and it was lovely heated through with winter spices. Mr Hatter went for the Marmalade Moonshine, which was also nice - if you like orange juice.

(We also got free bread and olive oil/balsamic vinegar before our first course - yum!)

Hot Tossed Salad - This was great. Mr Hatter and I seem to have developed a love of artichokes recently, and the other flavours combined really well to showcase them. It was a lovely light dish to start the menu off.

Tofu Cheese, Hummus, and Pickled Cauliflower - I'll admit, I was a little skeptical when the manager came over to tell us about the mistake on the menu (listing "tofu" instead of "tofu cheese"), but I was pleasantly surprised by this. The butternut and butterbean hummus made up the base, with was then topped with the pickled cauliflower and tofu cheese. The cheese was gooey and melty and delicious! It seemed to have been charred on top too, which gave it a fantastic depth of flavour.

Filled Portobello Mushroom - I love portobello mushrooms. I really enjoying the melted white onion filling but I wasn't too sure about the figs. I'm not a fig lover and could happily have eaten this dish without them. I gave them a chance and ate them all but I wouldn't choose to eat figs again.

Harissa Marinated Veg Souvlaki - I wasn't really sure what to expect with this, as I wasn't familiar with souvlaki. (Having looked it up, it's a Greek dish consisting of small chunks of meat and sometimes veg on a skewer.) We were presented with a couple of sizzling vegetable skewers marinated in a rather spicy but very tasty harissa paste.

Pudding - This was another dish that I was a little skeptical about as I don't usually like rhubarb. However, the manager told us it was made with forced rhubarb which is apparently a lot sweeter than regular rhubarb. I went into it with an open mind and loved it! It was nothing like the rhubarb I remember trying before and I would definitely eat it again. I'm almost positive the coconut yogurt was Coyo (yum!), and the thyme crumble was amazing. I really enjoy the use of fresh herbs in puddings - thyme crumble is definitely something I'll be trying at home!

YUM!

The next food stop was on the Saturday. We headed off to the cinema bright and early on Saturday morning for the first showing of The Hateful Eight (a very appropriate first activity of the day!), then we headed over to Hyde Park, Leeds to search out some more vegan food. I'd seen a lot of good things online about Oranaise Cafe's vegan menu, so we decided to try it out. Oranaise is a Moroccan/Mediterranean Cafe/Take Away in the Hyde Park area of Leeds. The menu is not purely vegan but they have a section of the menu where you can easily find all the vegan main dishes. The cafe itself was very pretty, with lots of traditional Moroccan items decorating the interior.

Mr Hatter and I both opted for the same main course - the "Soya Lover" pizza, which is topped with sauté mushroom, pepper, vegan cheese and roast tofu. I know, I know, we went to a Moroccan cafe and picked something distinctly un-Moroccan. But we share a love of pizza and do tend to snap it up when we see it! We both really enjoyed the pizza and would definitely go back for more. I loved that the tomato sauce had hints of mint and spices - it made me feel a bit less guilty for my non-Moroccan choice!


Despite being stuffed after the main course, we found out that the offered vegan dessert so we just had to try some...

Mr Hatter went for the Vegan Apple Pie, which came drizzled with golden syrup. He enjoyed it very much and look how pretty it was:


I opted for the vegan baklava, which I was so excited about as baklava usually contains honey or butter or both. I was assured that it was just a sugar syrup though. and that it was all vegan so I snapped it up! I must admit, I was shocked when I was presented with four huge pieces of baklava just for me - an no one else at the table would help me eat them as they all had their own huge desserts! I probably should have brought some home instead of stuffing myself silly but hey ho! Apparently my phone didn't want to save the photo I took of the baklava (it's new and I'm still getting used to the camera app), so you'll just have to nip over to Leeds and see for yourself!

SO MUCH FOOD!

And if that wasn't enough foodie goodness for you, on the Sunday, Mr Hatter decided to try his hand at vegan baking and made his very first vegan cake! It was a huge hit:


Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Vegan Kind Catch Up Post

It's been a little while since my last post about The Vegan Kind, so I'm going to do a quick round up of the last 3 boxes of 2012 here for you!

I'll be honest, I don't know where all my cards are from the past three boxes. It's been a bit of a whirlwind the past few months, so I think they have been tidied away. This just means that my post might not be as detailed as usual, but you'll still be able to see all the lovely products!

TVK24


My favourites from this box were the Lazy Day crispy treat snacks and the Mindful Mylk chocolate - so creamy!

TVK25


I loved everything in this box!

Both chocolate bars were gorgeous. I love honeycomb and I love cookies, so combining them into chocolate bars was a great idea!


The lip balm smells amazing and left my lips feeling lovely and smooth.


The bag of crisps was so big it filled the entire box!


We've only tried one flavour of the quinoa so far (TexMex) but it was very tasty - and so quick and easy. I'm looking forward to testing the others.


And I have another fab wristband to add to my collection!


TVK26


The Christmas box was packed full of wonderous goodies!

The cookie mix made some absolutely wonderful cookies. I don't usually use box mixes but they were so tasty!




I don't like mint chocolate so didn't try the owls but Mr Hatter assures me that they were very tasty - he didn't even realise they were made of dark chocolate! He liked them so much, we bought some of the "milk chocolate" penguins as a Christmas treat!


I always like smelling the new candles that TVK send - I think this is the third one I've had from Harper's Bizarre - and this one was no exception. We've had it burning throughout the festive period.


Nakd bars are a staple in our house, and the Christmas Pud flavour is a great wintery one!


I've been wanting to try the Orange Choc Shot for so long, and now I have a bottle I can't decide what I want to make with it! I want to use it in something tasty but don't want to waste it... decisions, decisions...


And finally we have Freedom Mallows. I love these, they're so tasty!


I decided I wanted to make Rocky Road Brownies with them but the cupboards were a little bare, so I ended up using what I had on hand - these mallows, some dark chocolate which I chopped up, and the last bit of a jar of Lotus biscuit spread. They tasted great but the marshmallows melted a bit more than I would have liked, so it looks like I'm going to have to make another batch to perfect the recipe... oh well! Would you like to see this flavour on an upcoming stall?


Friday, 1 January 2016

Hello Stranger!

Hello there!



It's been ever so quiet on the blog front, and I can only apologise. The past few months have been a bit crazy, with a combination of weddings, stalls, Christmas, and being crazy busy at my day job. Oh yeah, and an AMAZING holiday with fabulous people!

I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that I'm climbing back up onto the blogging horse as of now, and will endeavour to catch up with my missing posts. I have a chunk of TVK boxes and Vegan Life issues to fill you in about, and I'll show you photos of the wedding cakes I made back in October. (How is it January already?!) And of course, I will show you the stacks of gorgeous food we found across the pond in America.

For now, I will leave you with some photos of the very thoughtful gifts my sister got me for Christmas, and the vegan croissants we devoured this morning! Yes, Mr Hatter and I have eaten two trays of croissants today. Don't judge me.