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Isn’t it awesome when someone invites you round for tea and doesn’t stress about feeding you? I went to my friend Rachel’s a couple of weeks ago and she made this:

What a truly awful photo!

What a truly awful photo!

It was lovely. The non-vegan version she had just had the addition of feta. It’s such a simple dish but really was delicious, and the kind of thing you could make lots of and take to work for lunches. Here’s the vague recipe…

  • Butternut squash, roasted in chunks with a bit of all spice and dried chilli
  • Orzo pasta
  • Fresh mint, chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Pepper
  • Pine nuts

 

This weekend I went to the Isle of Wight to see my awesome friend Becky. She’s just moved back (which is amazing) and I’ve never been! So it was all very exciting. Becky is not a vegan, but the most wonderfully accommodating and enthusiastic baker you’ve ever met. When she lived in London we went to some wonderful veggie/vegan places together, and she made me things like welsh cakes and chocolate mousse.

Here she is :)

me on the left, her on the right

me on the left, her on the right

And here’s the beautiful Island (getting the ferry there was the most exciting thing ever. Loved it)…

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And here’s her vegan scribblings/ideas before I arrived:

And she tried and tested recipes during the week before I arrived :)

And she tried and tested recipes during the week before I arrived :)

Also, I guess once you’ve been a vegan for a while, you stop looking at new things (well I did, I guess I got lazy!) – so she introduced me to two new vegan things which I didn’t know about!

Delicious!

Delicious!

This is one of those "may contain traces of milk" things! I'd never even think that this would be ok, so I wouldn't have looked at it

This is one of those “may contain traces of milk” things! I’d never even think that this would be ok, so I wouldn’t have looked at it

Recipes for amazing baked goods will be coming soon (once she sends me them) :)

When you work Monday-Friday, Mondays are a sack of shit, aren’t they? But, a Monday where a work friend brings in a homemade vegan chocolate cake? That’s a pretty good Monday.

Vicky isn’t even a vegan – in fact I’m the only person in the team who is, but she’s awesomely kind and so made a cake which I’d be able to eat too. Nice eh? Lucky me :)

I was too eager to get the cake in my facehole to take a photo when it looked all nice, so here’s a terrible photo from after it had been cut…

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This cake is SERIOUSLY GOOD. Yum.

Here’s Vicky’s recipe…

Chocolate cake

  • 420g plain flour
  • 400g muscovado/ dark brown sugar
  • 6Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 500ml water
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and stir together.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the remaining  ingredients.
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into cupcake cakes or a greased and lined tin.
  6. Bake – 20 mins for cupcakes or 1 hour for cake (or as I did the mixture in two tins, it was about 40 minutes).

COMMENT: Let it cool for a while in the tin when you take it out the oven. I left it for about ten minutes, which is all I usually do, but it was still very delicate when I took it out of the tins. One of them actual broke in half! Fortunately not noticeable when covered in icing ;)

Chocolate icing

  • 1 cup/225g Vegan margarine
  • 1 cup/125g icing sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 145g quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • ¼ cup almond or soy milk
  • pinch of salt
  1. Combine the icing sugar and margarine and beat with electric mixer on low speed, about 1 minute.
  2. Add vanilla and beat on low until well combined.
  3. Add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add almond milk and salt, and beat on medium speed for another minute.

COMMENT: It’s very sloppy so it isn’t great for spreading. Could add a bit less soy milk, I reckon.

Coffee walnut icing/filling

  • 200g butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 2 tsps instant coffee granules
  • 60g walnut pieces
  1. Beat the butter till soft and pale with an electric beater, then add the sugar and beat till smooth and creamy.
  2. Stir 1 tbsp boiling water into the coffee granules then mix it into the buttercream.
  3. Fold in the walnut pieces.

Here we have another recipe from Becky – omnivore/recipe-veganiser extraordinaire (she did the welsh cakes. Yum). She’s a good ‘un!

Adapted from a Nigella recipe, this chocolate mousse is INSANE. So rich and amazing. It uses marshmallows instead of egg to make it fluffy. She used Dandies that I bought when I did an iherb order a while ago, but you can get vegan marshmallows from lots of online vegan shops, and even in some health food shops.

  • Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 150g mini marshmallows (or normal ones cut in half)
  • 50g dairy-free margarine
  • 250g good dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
  • 60ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
  • 1 x 284ml tub soya cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raspberries

Method

  1. Put the marshmallows, margarine, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Put the saucepan on the hob, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again.
  3. Remove from the heat.
  4. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.
  5. Pour or scrape into 4 glasses or ramekins on top of raspberries, about 175ml each in capacity, or 6 smaller (125ml) ones
  6. Chill until you want to eat

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I was lucky enough to have a magic weekend in Glasgow a wee while ago, and part of that was being taken to this gem of a veggie eaterie. The 13th Note does food, drink and has gigs – it was a pretty cool place during the day and I can imagine how good it would be to go there at night.

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Loved this place…

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The menu was awesome - I had such difficulty choosing what to eat! I loved that most of it was vegan, and if it was vegetarian rather than vegan then it had a “v” next to it. I really fancied the haggis, neeps and tatties, since I was in Scotland…but the weather was hot and I couldn’t face something so heavy so went with the Super Salad.

Tahini, lemon and mint dressed leaves, with quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, grated beetroot, red onion, pumpkin seeds and rocket leaves - £6.75

Tahini, lemon and mint dressed leaves, with quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, grated beetroot, red onion, pumpkin seeds and rocket leaves – £6.75

This salad was so much more exciting than it looks. Awesome.

I also went for the spanakopita as a side dish…

Made with spinach, vegan cheese, pine nuts and nutmeg, and served with a smoked paprika dip - £4.25

Made with spinach, vegan cheese, pine nuts and nutmeg, and served with a smoked paprika dip – £4.25

This place did the best chips I have ever eaten in my life ever. My ladybird got the burger with chips – I stole a couple and she quickly ran off to the bar to order me my own side portion so I didn’t eat all of hers. Wise move. I would have had ‘em.

Veggie burger with hummus, and chips - £7.80

Veggie burger with hummus, and chips – £7.80

 

I really wanted a dessert, but had no space. Look at the options though…YUM.

Capture

I definitely want to go back there, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

Here’s the useful info:

Address:

50-60 King St,

Glasgow,

G1 5QT

Tel: 0141 553 1638

Opening hours – 12-12 every day

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Happycow reviews here

Happy Cow phone app

I’ve been meaning to write about this for ages but kept forgetting. I got the Happy Cow phone app months ago and I’ve used it loads – definitely one of the most used apps on my phone (after facebook and instagram :)). It’s so nice to know that you can be anywhere and really quickly see on a map how far you are from any veggie/vegan places to eat.

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It uses your current location, and you can either search nearby or search a different location.

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If I click “browse nearby” when I’m in Oxford then it comes up with a list like this:

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The above search showed everything (vegan, vegetarian, veg-friendly etc) which is why there are quite a few veg-friendly places…but if I did a search for vegetarian (I know there are no vegan places in Oxford! I’ve looked before, but alas no), then I get to see a few more helpful results. As you’ll see, Oxford only actually has 2 veggie places – the other two are quite far away! (it’s great that it shows you how far you are from the places in the list).

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Then if you click on the one you’re interested in, you can see much more information about it, like a description, directions, contact details, link to a map etc.

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If you click on “map”, it opens in your usual maps like this:

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And you can see reviews too:

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So there you go. It’s really a great app – I used it a lot in London and it’s how we found Tao. I think I had to pay a couple of quid for it initially but I’d definitely recommend it :)

Here’s the website with more info about it

Lovely Links

vegetable-love1

Christina’s recent post alerted me to the fact that there’s a place in London which does frozen soya yogurt. Whaaaat!? That’s basically the most exciting thing I have ever heard.

I went to New Zealand at the end of January (best holiday ever) and went to Loving Hut in Auckland before I flew back the UK. It was delicious! I’ve never been to any of the ones in the UK (there are a few) but I definitely plan to now.

Oreos. It’s always been the case that oreos in the US were vegan-friendly but the ones here in the UK had milk in them. It seems like this has changed, and you can now get milk-free ones in the UK. In the FAQs on the UK oreo website, it said that they were planning to bring vegan-friendly oreos to the UK (“Oreo is currently not suitable for vegans because the recipe contains whey powder. We’re also hoping to work on a vegan option soon, so watch this space. Whey-powder free, vegan-happy Oreo will hopefully be available soon. Exciting!”), so I guess they have but they haven’t updated the website yet. Yay!

I really want to try this vegan cheese. On pizza. And then on lasagne. And maybe on a crumpet.

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