Monday, 29 August 2016

A Very Special Garden Cake

My Grandad turned 90 earlier this year - what a fantastic excuse for a fancy cake! He loves gardening, so we decided to go with a chocolate cake decorated with a garden theme. I really enjoyed making this one, it was great to get creative with it.

We drove this huge cake all the way down to Leicester. It's the furthest I've driven a cake yet and it was terrifying! I was convinced that it would be in pieces by the time we arrived, but everyone (and the cake) arrived in one piece.

Honestly, this cake was huge. My mum way overestimated how much cake we would need to feed everyone. But there's no such thing as too much cake... right?

And here I am with said cake and my lovely Grandad.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Vegan Kind - Overdue Post #1 (#TVK32)

I always seem to be playing catch-up at the moment! I'm a couple of boxes behind on my reviews for The Vegan Kind, so I'm going to try to rectify that before moving on to the other reviews I have lined up for you.

TVK32 was the June box - and what a good box it was!

Smooze Fruit Ice
GranoVita Vegetable Pate
Foods of Athenry Chocolate and Raspberry Cookie
Green People Sun Lotion
Hoots Cheese and Onion Multigrain Snack
Good Full Stop Chocolate and Orange Bar

Smooze Fruit Ice

Smooze Fruit Ice is a coconut milk based ice-cream/ice-lolly cross over. We got the Coconut and Mango in our box, but we've also tried the Simply Coconut - and both are divine!

GranoVita Vegetable Pate

We had our vegetable pate on some rice cakes. It has a great taste and added a nice texture contrast to the crunchy rice cakes.

Foods of Athenry Chocolate and Raspberry Cookie

This cookie was amazing! It had a great texture as well as a great flavour - I'm not sure you would know it was gluten free if you hadn't seen the label!

Green People Sun Lotion

This is the only thing from this box that I've not used yet, as I'm not bothered about tanning. I'll have to try to find someone to give it to so that it doesn't go to waste!

Hoots Cheese and Onion Multigrain Snack

We really enjoyed these alternatives to crisps. Mr Hatter was a cheese and onion crisp lover in his pre-vegan days and apparently these really hit the spot! I was never a fan of cheese and onion crisps but I also really liked these!

Good Full Stop Chocolate and Orange Bar

I'm a sucker for anything chocolate-orange flavour, so I loved this bar! I like that they use actual chocolate rather than cocoa powder, as it feels like you're getting an indulgent treat while still being healthy.

June's charity was Teen Vgn's Summer Camp, which is for 11-17 year olds and is now in it's second year. I think this is a great idea, and it probably would have helped me to start my vegan journey at a younger age. Good luck to them!

The June box also included a recipe card for Fettle Vegan's Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta, which sounds gorgeous!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

July Food Round-Up

July has been a really busy month, so I don't have a huge amount of new food to tell you about. July is a super busy month in my day job, and in my spare time I've been working hard with Grim North Theatre to put on our most recent production (last weekend).

We ate more seitan from Nasi Lemak. This stuff was so good, I couldn't get enough. I was very disappointed when they left Trinity Kitchen! At first inspection, there doesn't seem to be a lot of choice for vegans with the new vendors that have moved in but I will have a proper look soon. I know there is at least a vegan curry option that I've not tried yet!

We sampled one of the new Chef's Specials from Pret A Manger - Artichoke, Basil and Red Tapenade Baguette. It was very tasty - I love artichoke!

We went to Manchester on the last weekend in July to help out a friend at MCM Comic Con. We couldn't resist a cheeky trip to V Revolution! We both went for the "Beef Me Up Scotty" special: 'Beef' burger, 'bacon', smoked 'cheese', chimichurri, rocket, mayo. It was fantastic!

Monday, 1 August 2016

VegfestUK Awards 2016

I'm so excited to be able to share some news with you - I've been nominated in the VegfestUK Awards for 2016!! I found out on Wednesday last week but haven't been able to tell anyone, as the official nominations weren't announced until today.

I have no idea who nominated me but whoever you are, please know that you really made my day!

This year seems to have been a really busy one (how is it August already?!), and in all honesty, I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything - work (day job), politics, social life, keeping up with blogging, the state of the world... baking...

As you can imagine, a baker feeling overwhelmed by baking isn't the best situation to be in. I have found myself wondering on more than one occasion whether this is all worth it; whether anyone really enjoys what I do; whether I'm even any good at what I do. I had even contemplated closing the doors of the business and going back to just being a blog. Finding out that I've been nominated alongside the likes of Hannah Banana Bakery, The Vegan Cakery, and Ms Cupcake really gave me a positive boost.

Now, instead of throwing the towel in, I'm going to allow myself to take a step back and assess the direction I want to go in. I know that I want to be more creative and play around with unusual flavours and interesting techniques, so I just need to schedule in the time to be able to do that. But I want your input too! Without all you lovely people, there would be no business. It's as simple as that. So in the coming months, I'll be putting together a survey or similar way for you to give me some feedback about what it is you want from a small bakery like mine.

Now for the official stuff!

Running since 2007, the awards are the highlight of the year for many vegan businesses, organisations, projects and people, with tens of thousands of votes cast each year. Small vegan businesses and charities especially benefit from the marketing and prestige the awards create, and they have become a much loved and much valued part of the UK vegan community.

The VegfestUK organisers added, “With over half a million people identifying as vegan, and half a million veggies actively seeking vegan options, there have been a huge explosion in vegan products, projects and organisations. The VegfestUK Awards 2016 reflect both the quality and diversity within the vegan market today, and to be nominated for an award in 2016 is a huge achievement in itself. We expect the “Best Vegan Bakery or Raw Cakes” category to be hugely contested.”

You can vote for Mad Hatter's Pantry at the link below:

Weekly updates of the awards results will be announced under “Awards” section on the Vegfest Express online vegan magazine 

Voting will close at midnight sharp on Friday September 30th 2016.

The awards results will be announced at the presentation ceremony to be held on Saturday October 22nd 2016 from 3:00 - 4:00pm in the Auditorium, at Level 3 of Olympia London Exhibition Centre, as part of a huge VegfestUK London 2016. Trophies for the awards will be presented by Karin Ridgers, presenter of VeggieVision TV, alongside frontman John Robb of punk rock band Goldblade and singer with The Membranes.

The official hashtag for the VegfestUK Awards 2016 is #VegfestUKAwards2016

As one of Europe’s biggest vegan events, VegfestUK London is a celebration of all things vegan, spanning the whole weekend October 22nd 23rd 2016. The event consists of 250 stalls and 20 caterers, plus a Vegan Athletes Summit on the Saturday, a Pro-Intersectional Vegan Conference on the Sunday, a Vegan Health Summit, a Vegan Activists Summit, a Mature Zone, a Teen Zone, cookery demos, a living raw zone, on top of standup comedy, music, kids activities and more!

Advance tickets to the event are on sale at They are priced at £12 for adults and £8 for concessions, plus small booking and transaction fees. BUY ONE GET ONE FREE offers are available for a LIMITED PERIOD ONLY, after which advance tickets will then be on BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE for another limited period. Limited quantities of tickets are available on the gate at £15 for adults and £10 for concessions. Kids under 16 can enter for free.

VegfestUK also organises 3 other big vegan events after its London edition:

Vegfest Scotland, December 3rd 4th 2016, SECC (Hall 3) in Glasgow, 

VegfestUK Brighton, March 11th 12th 2017, Brighton Centre, website live from September 2016

VegfestUK Bristol, May 20th 21st 2017, Amphitheatre, website live from September 2016